Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Thursday that he has officially withdrawn from the race for speaker of the House, according to The Associated Press.
McCarthy’s announcement came before Thursday’s vote for House speaker, which has now been postponed, according to the AP.
“Over the last week it has become clear to me that our conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader,” McCarthy said. “I have always put this conference ahead of myself. Therefore, I am withdrawing my candidacy for speaker of the House.”
This came as a shock to lawmakers, who had fully expected to see McCarthy as the next speaker of the House, according to the AP.
McCarthy’s decision comes after the House Freedom Caucus announced Wednesday, their support for Daniel Webster Rep. from Florida, according to the Washington Post.
The House Freedom Caucus is made up of about 40 conservative representatives, according to The Washington Post.
McCarthy said he plans to stay as House Majority Leader, according to the AP.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Webster are the only other House Representatives currently in the running, according to the AP.