EXCLUSIVE: Rep.-elect Ami Bera, D-Calif., said he would vote for a so-called ‘unity candidate’ for House speaker as House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy again failed to secure the position in a fifth round of voting Wednesday.
Bera told Fox News Digital in a phone interview that he would support uniting behind a moderate candidate in order to expedite the election process after McCarthy again fell short of the 218 votes needed to become speaker of the House Wednesday, this time splitting the vote between Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat, and Byron Donalds, Florida Republican.
‘The Republicans need to fast forward this process to pick a candidate so we can get on with doing the people’s business,’ Bera said. ‘I would support a unity candidate if that’s what it takes, because we need a Speaker of the House.’
‘I don’t know about whipping against Republicans trying to adjourn, a lot of things are going to happen after we start voting, but we need to speed things up, not slow them down,’ he said. ‘All I know is that Democrats are aligned with Congressman Jeffries and are united together on our agenda. Let’s get this done.’
House Democrats have remained united behind Jeffries in all four rounds of voting, with all 212 casting a vote for him, but McCarthy only captured 202 Republican votes in the first three rounds. In a new development Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Victoria Spartz, Indiana Republican, defected from supporting McCarthy to voting ‘present.’
McCarthy only captured 202 Republican votes in the first three rounds of voting Tuesday, splitting the vote between Jeffries, and Republicans Andy Biggs and Jim Jordan. In new developments Wednesday afternoon, the 20 Republicans who had voted against McCarthy voted for Florida Republican Byron Donalds, including himself, and Indiana Republican Victoria Spartz defected from supporting McCarthy to voting ‘present’ in the first two rounds of votes, bringing his tally down to 201.
Names like outgoing Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Fred Upton of Michigan, both moderate Republicans, have been floated as possible alternatives to McCarthy amid the stalemate. Allies are concerned that multiple rounds of voting could open a path for a challenger to overtake McCarthy with significant Democrat support.
Upton said Saturday that he’d be up for the job ‘to put an end to the dysfunction that is doing so much damage to the country,’ The Detroit News reported.