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Rep. Pete Sessions drops out of race for House majority leader

Texas Rep. Pete Sessions won’t run for Republican House majority leader after all, clearing the way for California Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy appears to be Eric Cantor's heir apparent as House majority leader. 

Texas Rep. Pete Sessions won’t run for the House leadership post after all, the GOP congressman said in a statement late Thursday. The move clears the way for Majority Whip McCarthy to move up to the House's No. 2 position. He will run for the spot in an election June 19.

Related: 5 things to know about Rep. Kevin McCarthy

"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.

Sessions cited party divisions, a nod to the fact that McCarthy already had the support of much of the GOP.

“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 said in the statement. “As always, I stand ready and willing to work with our team to advance the conservative agenda that the American people demand and deserve." 

Related: 5 things Dave Brat wants you to know about Dave Brat

Cantor's surprise primary loss Tuesday stunned the political world and cast uncertainty over the future of the GOP's leadership in congress. Cantor announced Wednesday that he would step down as majority leader at the end of July. Dave Brat, an economics professor in Virginia, defeated Cantor in Tuesday's election. Cantor outspent Brat by a 26-to-1 margin.