Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy has dropped out of the race to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the House of Representatives.
McCarthy said at a news conference he stepped down as a candidate for speaker because his recent comments on Hillary Clinton and the House panel on Benghazi were a distraction.
House Republicans have also posponed the election for a candidate for speaker. Details are still coming in.
On Wednesday, the so-called House Freedom Caucus voted to support Florida Representative Daniel Webster for the post, rejecting a bid by McCarthy, the House majority leader and Boehner's second-in-command, who has gained the support of the majority of the 247-member Republican caucus. READ MORE OF THIS STORY ON VOA NEWS WEBSITE