By Mike Lillis - 10/08/15 08:20 PM EDT
Another Republican quits Freedom Caucus
Rep. Reid RibbleReid RibbleTrump muddies GOP message on protecting the Constitution The emerging fundraising rebellion GOP fears next Trump blowup MORE (R-Wis.) has left the Freedom Caucus, making him the second Republican to depart the conservative group in recent weeks to protest its tactics.
Ribble, who announced the move Thursday, said he left the group quietly last month, after the Freedom Caucus entered into the GOP leadership debate in the wake of Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) resignation announcement.
He suggested his reasons for joining the group were policy-related; when the focus shifted to leadership contests, he dashed.
"I was a member of the Freedom Caucus in the very beginning because we were focused on making the process reforms to get every Member’s voice heard and advance conservative policy," Ribble said in a statement. "When the Speaker resigned and they pivoted to focusing on the leadership race, I withdrew.
"I spent thirty years as a leader in the private sector, and I have a clear idea of the qualities that a leader will need to unite our Conference," he added.
The news, first reported by Roll Call, came the same day that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) withdrew his Speakership bid, largely due to conservative concerns that McCarthy's reign would be a simple extension of Boehner's.
The Freedom Caucus proved a critical factor in the decision, as the group had endorsed another Speaker candidate, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), earlier in the week.
The move by the 40-member group would have likely prevented McCarthy from winning the 218 votes he'd need to secure the Speaker's gavel when a vote comes before the full House later in the month.
Ribble's announcement comes just weeks after Rep. Tom McClintock became the first Freedom Caucus member to quit the group. The California Republican cheered the group's policy goals but blasted its tactics as playing right into the hands of the Democrats.
"I feel that the HFC’s many missteps have made it counterproductive to its stated goals and I no longer wish to be associated with it," McClintock said.