The affable McCarthy, now the No. 3 Republican in the House, is by no means the top choice among
The leadership race was triggered by the defeat of Rep.
McCarthy will likely still face opposition from another Texan, Rep.
Sessions, a committee chairman and McCarthy rival, entered the race early, calling potential supporters on Tuesday night as Cantor was being defeated in his home-state election by a little-known conservative professor, Dave Brat.
It's also possible that another conservative could still enter the race, aides to House Republicans said, but McCarthy has moved quickly to lock down key votes.
Hensarling would have posed the most formidable challenge because of his stature among tea party lawmakers seeking to elevate one of their own.
In a statement Thursday morning, Hensarling said that after "prayerful reflection," he would not run for the post.
“Although I am humbled by the calls, emails, and conversations from my colleagues encouraging me to return to leadership for the remainder of the 113th
"I have come to the conclusion that this is not the right office at the right time for me and my family."
After the decision was made, Rep.
The election, which is by secret ballot, is set for next Thursday.