WASHINGTON (CN) - Moments ahead of the election by House Republicans to elect a new speaker Thursday, John Boehner's presumptive successor took his hat out of the ring.
"We're public servants," Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter shortly after the announcement. "I have always put this Conference and Country ahead of myself. We need to unite behind one leader and get to work."
The Bakersfield, Calif.-based congressman's surrender caused Republicans to delay until later this month a vote for their new speaker.
Boehner, who held the title since Republicans took the house in 2010, made the shocking announcement just over a week ago that he would be out the door on Oct. 30, amid pressure from the extreme right wing of his party.
McCarthy felt that pressure this last week after remarking on NBC's "Today" that the House Select Committee on Benghazi was purely a political exercise meant to "make a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans."
Though the dependable conservative had been considered a slam-dunk to succeed Boehner, The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of more than 40 representatives, endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida for the position, according to an article from the Hill.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah has also reportedly expressed interest in the job.
McCarthy's decision still surprised many, including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who nominated McCarthy to replace Boehner.
"Kevin McCarthy is [sic] best person to lead the House, and so I'm disappointed in this decision," Ryan said in a statement. "Now it is important that we, as a Conference, take time to deliberate and seek new candidates for the speakership. While I am grateful for the encouragement I've received, I will not be a candidate. I continue to believe I can best serve the country and this conference as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee."