Texas Rep. Pete Sessions said on Thursday that he will not seek to become majority leader in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The move leaves Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California as the sole declared candidate in the race to succeed Eric Cantor, who resigned Wednesday after losing to little-known challenger Dave Brat in the Virginia Republican primary.
Republicans in the House are scheduled to vote on Cantor's successor on Thursday of next week.
"After thoughtful consideration and discussion with my colleagues, I have made the decision to not continue my run for House majority leader,” Sessions said in a statement reported by Politico
. "Today, it became obvious to me that the measures necessary to run a successful campaign would have created unnecessary and painful division within our party.
"At this critical time, we must remain unified as a Republican conference," he added. "As always, I stand ready and willing to work with our team to advance the conservative agenda that the American people demand and deserve."
Earlier Thursday, Sessions' Texas colleague Rep. Jeb Hensarling also pulled out of the race to succeed Cantor.
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