Sessions drops out of majority leader race, leaving McCarthy as lone hopeful


WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: Late in the evening, Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) mediates House's version of the Continuing Resolution bill during a House Rules Committee last minute session before the vote on the House floor on Capitol Hill Saturday September 28, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) has dropped out of the race for House majority leader, leaving current Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as the only candidate in the race.

Sessions has released a statement announcing his exit, and his spokeswoman, Torrie Miller, confirmed his departure to the Post.

“After thoughtful consideration and discussion with my colleagues, I have made the decision to not continue my run for House majority leader," Sessions said. "Today, it became obvious to me that the measures necessary to run a successful campaign would have created unnecessary and painful division within our party."

Sessions had also been considered a potential candidate for McCarthy's current job, GOP whip, but Miller said he won't pursue that post either.

Earlier Thursday, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) also dropped out of the running for majority leader. McCarthy has been considered the favorite ever since current Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary on Tuesday.

Another rumored McCarthy opponent is Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a two-term lawmaker who aligns with the tea party.

Cantor announced Wednesday that he would resign as majority leader on July 31. The election for his successor is June 19.

Sessions added: "At this critical time, we must remain unified as a Republican conference.  As always, I stand ready and willing to work with our team to advance the conservative agenda that the American people demand and deserve.”

Updated at 9:30 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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