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Rep. John Campbell (Calif.) took himself out of the race Monday to lead the conservative Republican Study Committee, pointing to his approach to the economic crisis as a disqualifier.

Campbell’s early embrace of the Wall Street bailout promised to complicate his path to succeed Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas) at the group’s helm. And in a letter to Hensarling, Campbell acknowledged his position put him at odds with the “vast majority” of the group. But, Campbell wrote, “that one disagreement, sharp as it may have been, would not cause me to write this letter.”

Rather, he argued his ongoing support for a fundamental overhaul of financial regulations would make it too difficult to lead the conservative faction next year. “I will not hide my opinions, but I think it will be more appropriate for me to express them as a rank and file member of the RSC,” he wrote.

He also sent the letter to senior members of the group — Reps. John Shadegg (Ariz.), Mike Pence (Ind.), Sue Myrick (N.C.), Dan Burton (Ind.), John Doolittle (Calif.) and Sam Johnson (Texas) — and the two remaining contenders for the top job, Reps. Tom Price (Ga.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).

The election will be held later this year.

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