RINO House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stunned the DC establishment on Thursday, suddenly and unexpectedly announcing that the “shoe-in” to replace John Boehner as speaker of the house was dropping out of consideration.
The handpicked successor to Boehner was seen — literally just hours before his announcement — as Boehner’s eventual replacement, even though it may have taken some arm-twisting to get him over the 218 votes required.
The block of 40 or so principled conservatives and Tea Party-aligned members stood strong, especially those in the Freedom Caucus, making McCarthy’s run a challenge.
That being said, McCarthy was said to most likely have somewhere around 200 votes, with the other candidates, Florida congressmen Daniel Webster and Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, splitting up the rest of the votes. In other words, no one else was even close to the number that McCarthy would have reportedly received, making him still the clear frontrunner, despite opposition.
But there may be another reason, a more personal reason, that McCarthy, known for his charm and close relationships with members within the party — one of his relationships may have been a little too close for comfort.
The Hill reported Thursday night that Kevin McCarthy was confronted by House members, prior to his sudden and unexpected announcement, about an alleged affair with fellow Republican Renee Ellmers (R-NC), after rumors of the relationship gained momentum this week.
Moreover, an internet address originating from the Department of Homeland Security edited the Wikipedia pages of both Kevin McCarthy and Renee Ellmers to indicate the alleged affair, The Daily Caller reported on Thursday.
A letter from conservative Rep. Walter Jones from Ellmers state of North Carolina this week was sent to the various candidates and asked any of them to immediately step down if they had any “skeletons in their closets” or had committed any “misdeeds” that may surface, perhaps creating the embarrassing 1998 Bob Livingston disaster. Livingston was revealed to be a hypocrite, having to resign due to his own personal affair after being a main critic of Bill Clinton’s infamous fling with Monica Lewinsky.
Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), who heads the Tea Party Caucus, told Newsmax TV‘s Steve Malzberg on Thursday that members were “stunned” when McCarthy “pulled a John Boehner” and that rumors had been swirling around McCarthy’s alleged affairs for quite some time.
According to the report from The Hill, McCarthy denies that the Jones letter is related to his dropping out, but denied to comment on the confrontational meeting.
Renee Ellmers, a congresswoman from North Carolina, who was a Tea Party favorite in 2010, but has now gone establishment, perhaps with McCarthy’s “coaching,” is married to Dr. Brent Ellmers.
McCarthy’s abrupt exit speech from the speaker’s race was given with his wife and three kids in the room, something he made a point of mentioning during his surprising announcement.