Young not in running for Speaker of the House

As the U.S. House of Representatives scrambles to find its next Speaker, there are few certainties.

One of them is that Rep. Don Young, Alaska’s sole representative to the body, is not in the running.

Young spokesman Matt Shuckerow said by phone Thursday morning that Young has “no intention to seek the office or run.”

As the sole delegate from Alaska — far removed from Washington, D.C. — it would be difficult for Young to serve both Alaskans and the national demands required by the speakership.

“It would be really tough to fulfill both obligations,” Shuckerow said.

On Thursday morning, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California and the House majority leader) — presumptive successor to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — announced he will not stand for the speakership. The surprise announcement has thrown the speakership succession into turmoil, and Republicans have postponed the speakership election.

The Speaker is third in line of succession behind the president and vice president and wields enormous authority in the House, where speakers are chosen by majority vote of the body’s 435 members.

While Republicans hold a majority in the House, the party is divided between a libertarian-leaning tea party wing and a more centrist wing.

Young is the most senior Republican member of the House, having been appointed to office in 1973 after the disappearance of Nick Begich and repeatedly re-elected. Young is the third longest-serving member overall, behind only Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan since 1965) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York since 1971).

Normally, that kind of seniority grants a significant amount of power in the House, but Young is an exception. The Congressman has been dogged by accusations of wrongdoing since the late 2000s, and he has not been chairman of any House committees since 2008, though he has chaired subcommittees.

Reporting by the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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