- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson says history will look kindly on House Speaker John Boehner, who announced a stunning move to step down from his coveted leadership position and his seat in Congress at the end of October.

The 13-term Ohio Republican shocked his GOP caucus early Friday morning when he announced his decision in a closed-door session. It came one day after a high point of Boehner’s congressional career, a historic speech by Pope Francis to Congress at Boehner’s request.

“Facing challenges that often seemed insurmountable, he has consistently acted with integrity and in the best interest of this nation,” Simpson said in a prepared statement.

Simpson, a longtime Boehner ally, says he’s grateful for the speaker’s leadership in a fractious Republican party and divided nation.

Meanwhile, Rep. Raul Labrador - a member of Congress’ conservative Freedom Caucus - says Boehner served with distinction and grace even though the two had their differences.

Although it’s not certain who will succeed Boehner, the most obvious candidate would be the No. 2 House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, a genial Californian who was first elected to Congress in 2006. Regardless of what he does, Boehner’s departure ensures a major leadership race in which tea party conservatives would be expected to field a candidate.

Labrador unsuccessfully attempted to run for speaker last year against McCarthy.

“As for succession, today is not the day for such talk. But I am committed to supporting leaders who will keep our promise to the American people to fight for real change in Washington,” Labrador said.

Boehner took over the speakership in January 2011.

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