- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2015

Centrist Republicans are palpably frustrated with a group of conservatives within the House GOP caucus who ousted Speaker John A. Boehner and likely sank Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to replace him.

“Basically they said they’re going to hold back their votes,” Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, said. “This is unprecedented to have this small group, a tiny minority, hijack the party and blackmail the House,” he said.

Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, stunned House Republicans by dropping out of the speaker race Thursday despite being the clear front-runner.

“Like every other House Republican, I was shocked at Leader McCarthy’s announcement,” Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, said. “I fully expected him to be the next speaker of the House.”

Mr. King said party members who gathered to nominate their replacement for Mr. Boehner either didn’t hear what Mr. McCarthy said, only caught part of it or simply didn’t understand what had happened.

“It’s chaos, more chaos,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican who was firmly in Mr. McCarthy’s corner.

Mr. McCarthy dropped out after he couldn’t rally enough members to claim the 218 votes he’d need to win the position in an Oct. 29 vote on the full House floor, after dozens of members from the House Freedom Caucus rallied behind one of his opponents, Rep. Daniel Webster, Florida Republican.

Members of the Freedom Caucus said they were tired of their voices being shut out by leadership, and they wanted to see the chamber run differently.

That’s left the entire House GOP pointing fingers at each other, as they scramble for suitable alternatives.

“The so-called Freedom Caucus has to figure out if they want to govern or be obstructionists,” Mr. Kinzinger said.

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