Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who had been see as a possible replacement for outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, issued a statement late Thursday saying he was pulling his name from consideration.
"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 quoted 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 said.
"As always, I stand ready and willing to work with our team to advance the conservative agenda that the American people demand and deserve," he said.
Removing himself from consideration appears to clear the way for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.
After Cantor's stunning defeat in the Republican primary for Virginia's 7th District on Tuesday, the majority leader said he'd support McCarthy if he wanted the No. 2 leadership post.