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Kevin McCarthy announces he's a candidate for House speaker (+video)

The California congressman has worked by John Boehner's side for the past year. Now, he's actively seeking the top post.

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    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) of Calif. speaks at the John Hay Initiative in Washington September 28, 2015.
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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is officially declaring his candidacy for House speaker to replace John Boehner.

Boehner announced his resignation on Friday under pressure from conservatives.

McCarthy, who is Boehner's No. 2, sent a letter to GOP lawmakers on Monday pledging to fight for conservative principles — and asking for their support as the next speaker.

"If elected speaker, I promise you that we will have the courage to lead the fight for our conservative principles and make our case to the American people," McCarthy wrote in the letter to his House Republican colleagues. "But we will also have the wisdom to listen to our constituents and each other so that we always move forward together."

McCarthy is strongly favored to get the job though he faces a challenge from Florida Republican Rep. Daniel Webster.

He is currently serving his fifth term in Congress and has been endorsed by Boehner.

The Christian Science Monitor detailed McCarthy's background and his short term as House majority leader.

In his tenure as the deputy, McCarthy has been loyal to Boehner, for instance, “backing up the outgoing speaker's plan to remove a controversy over "defunding" Planned Parenthood from a stopgap spending bill that's needed to avoid a government shutdown next week. And he supported Boehner last year as one of only 28 Republicans to vote to raise the so-called debt limit without seeking concessions from Obama,” The Associated Press reports.

After Boehner’s announced that he'll step down next month, McCarthy issued a statement calling Boehner a leader and a mentor, according to NBC News.

"It takes profound humility to step down from a position of power, and John's depth of character is unmatched." McCarthy said. "Now is the time for our conference to focus on healing and unifying to face the challenges ahead and always do what is best for the American people."

According to the Boston Globe, Republicans will hold their internal leadership elections Oct. 1 to avoid drawing out the process of electing a successor to Boehner.

"I'll tell Kevin, if he's the next speaker, that his No. 1 responsibility is to protect the institution. Nobody else around here has an obligation like that," Boehner told reporters on Friday. "Secondly, I'd tell him the same thing I've just told you. You just do the right thing every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen."

Material from Reuters was used in this article.

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