McMorris Rodgers drops out of leader race

McMorris Rodgers drops out of leader race

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersThe Hill's Whip List: 36 GOP no votes on ObamaCare repeal plan The one Trump pick leaving greens hopeful House, Senate leaders avoid holding town halls MORE (R-Wash.) won't run for majority leader, a Republican lawmaker confirmed.

Her decision to drop out of the race just as it was getting started creates a two-way race between two red-state conservatives: Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.).

Former Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) also is eyeing a possible run for the No. 2 job but has not made any calls yet.

McMorris Rodgers "is a good vote counter who has been in leadership races before," the GOP source said. "And by stepping aside, she may have an even better opportunity to help shepherd a healing process that brings the conference together."

It had been highly anticipated that McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the House, would try and take the majority leader position. That post is expected to become available when Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who currently holds it, runs for Speaker.

“The best way right now for me to empower my colleagues through positive change is to remain Conference Chair," McMorris Rodgers said in a statement.

McMorris Rodgers had been the only woman seeking any of the top three leadership slots. Had she won, McMorris Rodgers would have been the first female Republican majority leader.

McMorris Rodgers is not yet endorsing any of the other candidates.

"The Chair looks forward to hearing the specific plans potential candidates have to make the significant changes to the Majority Leader position as she has made as Conference Chair," spokesman Nate Hodson said.

— This post was updated at 12:48 a.m.