The ongoing battle in the House for who will assume the Speakership after John Boehner steps down has erupted on the Hill and in conservative media after Rep. Kevin McCarthy stepped out of the race last week.
Pundits cited the fact that internal divisions among the Republican caucus would prevent him from capturing the needed 218 votes to secure the post, but rumors continue to upgrade to serious speculation that the real reason for his ouster was his relationship with liberal North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.
The week before McCarthy declined to continue his bid for Speaker, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) sent an open letter to the House GOP conference warning that candidates for Speaker should evaluate “skeletons in the closet” before considering a run.
Referring to their respective extramarital affairs, Jones’ letter read in part, “We’ve seen it with former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Bob Livingston, who ran for Speaker in 1998.”
That letter was seen as a veiled threat to McCarthy that, should he continue his campaign for Speaker, the alleged affair between he and Rep. Ellmers would quickly become front page news.
During a press conference this week on veterans affairs, Ellmers shut out reporters who wanted to press her on the rumors.