Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker of the House on Friday.
“Last night I started thinking about this and this morning I woke up and I said my prayers — as I always do — and I decided today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that,” said Boehner, at a hastily-arranged Capitol Hill press conference.
Boehner will step down as Speaker and leave Congress altogether at the end of October.
Boehner rode into power on the 2010 Tea Party wave–but it was dealing with the newly-elected conservatives that proved to be his biggest challenge. On a number of fiscal policy, he’s depended on Democrats to help make a majority–leaving many conservative members of Congress frustrated and on the outs.
But, with Boehner out, rumors are already circulating as to who will replace him as Speaker.
The most likely candidate is Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who serves as Senate Majority Leader–Boehner’s second-in-command.
Even though McCarthy has been loyal to Boehner, he’s built some close personal relationships with conservatives–meaning that he might be a candidate that’s palatable to everyone and, as Speaker, be in a better position to get things done than Boehner was.
There’s also Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee–and is known as being a hardline conservative, who often sparred with Boehner.
Another option would be Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington–who, if elected, would be the second female Speaker of the House, after Nancy Pelosi.
One high-profile Republican member of Congress–Paul Ryan–has already said that he wouldn’t run for the job. Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s Vice President pick in 2012, has credibility in both the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party–which would have helped him avoid the pitfalls that ultimately sunk Boehner.
Regardless of who replaces Boehner, it’s clear that the next Speaker of the House has their work cut out for them.