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Republican chaos as McCarthy quits US House speaker race

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California speaks to the press after dropping out of the race to be Speaker of the House on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 8, 2015Conservative US Republicans drove frontrunner Kevin McCarthy out of the race to be the next speaker of the House, plunging their party into disarray and triggering a mad scramble to find the chamber’s next leader. The political pandemonium set off by McCarthy’s announcement — which appeared to take most lawmakers by complete surprise — comes as Congress must dig into crucial federal budget and debt ceiling battles, when a speaker’s firm hand at the tiller might be most needed. The 50-year-old Californian, who as majority leader has built connections among conservatives and moderates alike, fell victim to an intense right-flank revolt as he sought the role that would have placed him immediately behind the vice president in the line of presidential succession.

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