California congressman Kevin McCarthy (R.) will not seek a second term as House speaker after Democrats partnered with eight Republicans to oust him from the role Tuesday.
McCarthy first made the announcement during a closed-door meeting with the House GOP caucus, Punchbowl News reported, with the now-former speaker suggesting that his exit from the race could help Republicans more promptly choose a leader.
"When we come out of the next vote, let's elect that person on the first round," McCarthy reportedly said. "If I have to be the sacrifice, so be it."
The Tuesday vote marked the first time a House speaker was removed from the position in U.S. history. Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz introduced the motion to vacate McCarthy, a move that received unanimous support from House Democrats.
For now, North Carolina Republican congressman and close McCarthy ally Patrick McHenry is serving as acting speaker. House Republicans plan to hold a candidate forum and subsequent speaker election next week, with the lower chamber in limbo until a successor is chosen. Caucus members have floated an array of replacements, including Reps. Steve Scalise (R., La.), Tom Emmer (R., Minn.), and Tom Cole (R., Okla.).
McCarthy, whose speakership lasted 269 days, said he will still help House Republicans retain their majority in 2024.