The chaotic, convoluted path House Republicans took to elect a speaker leads back to square one

It’s been a dramatic few weeks in the House of Representatives as Republicans tried and failed to elect a speaker. After Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a surprise move to abandon his own candidacy, leaving House Republicans with no clear frontrunner to assume the speaker’s job.

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The chaotic, convoluted path House Republicans took to elect a speaker ultimately led them right back to square one. After an effort to solicit proposals from outside the party failed, Kevin McCarthy made another try for the speakership. The House Freedom Caucus, a hard-line conservative faction of the Republican Party, expressed doubts about McCarthy’s views on immigration and government spending. Ultimately, McCarthy pulled back for the same reason he did before: it was clear that he did not have the necessary support within the House to attain the speaker’s chair.

With no clear frontrunner now, Republicans are once again in a quagmire. The Republican National Committee is researching potential candidates, but without McCarthy in the race, a candidate with broad support is still elusive. In the meantime, Boehner has agreed to stay on as interim speaker until a permanent replacement is identified.

No matter who is eventually elected, the chaos surrounding the Republican effort to find a speaker has highlighted the deep rifts within the party and the need for a stronger leader to unite the party and lead the House.

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