The number 2 Republican in the US House of Representatives said Monday he will run for speaker of the lower chamber, after John Boehner said he would step aside next month.
In a surprise announcement Friday, Boehner said he would resign from the House on October 30 to avoid a looming challenge from conservative members of his caucus that could damage his Republican Party and the US Congress.
His deputy, Kevin McCarthy, is considered a favourite to take over the top spot in the House.
“After hearing from my colleagues, I have decided to run for speaker of the House. Let’s work together to make a difference for our country,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
“I am running for speaker to work with my colleagues and make the case to the American people for conservative principles.”
McCarthy, who has represented California in Congress since 2007, will face the difficult task of unifying the divided Republican Party, which proved Boehner’s undoing, as well as gaining support from the larger House.
Daniel Webster, a conservative from Florida in expected to oppose McCarthy.
Boehner has been House speaker – the highest office of the legislative branch under the separation of powers in the US government – for nearly five years, often clashing with Democratic President Barack Obama over policies, including government spending and the president’s signature health insurance reforms.