Republicans in disarray
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday shocked the political world by suddenly dropping his bid to replace John Boehner (R-Ohio) as speaker, with the initial speculation focusing on his inability to win the support of hard-core conservatives who for years have made life miserable for the House Republican leadership.
But could there be another reason McCarthy dropped out?
Conservatives, like Erick Erickson at Red State, are buzzing that McCarthy may have dropped out because of rumors that he was having an extramarital affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) of North Carolina:
There's a guy out in America who has emails for a massive number of members of Congress and the email addresses of highly influential conservatives outside Congress.
A few days ago, he emailed out to 91 people, including these members of Congress, an email with a series of links to stories alleging a relationship between Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) of North Carolina. It is worth noting that the two deny a relationship. [Red State]
Both Erickson and Matt Lewis also note that Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina this week mysteriously called on candidates who had committed "misdeeds" to drop out of the race.
"It is again worth noting that both parties deny it," Erickson writes. "But the rumor itself may have led to McCarthy's collapse."