Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) revealed to CNN on Wednesday that preliminary talks are “underway” to potentially pick a “consensus candidate” should Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) be unable to secure enough votes to become Speaker of the House.
McCarthy failed to reach the needed threshold to be elected to the position three times on Tuesday, with more than a dozen Republican lawmakers refusing to concede and support him. CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked Bacon on Wednesday, ahead of even more voting, about the lawmaker’s suggestion that Republicans may need to work with Democrats to get this Speaker vote done.
Bacon revealed there are talks underway for a “consensus candidate,” but he insisted he is still supporting McCarthy and will do so until the Republican takes his name out of the race.
“There are preliminary talks but we don’t want to go too fast on this because that then hijacks what Kevin is trying to do and we want to support Kevin,” Bacon said.
He added that if McCarthy can’t win over the Republicans refusing to give him their votes, then it’s time to “look somewhere else.”
“This is about letting the greatest country in the world and we cannot let a small handful of folks that are on the extreme part of our conference, one of the smallest caucuses that we have, we can’t let them control the entire House of Representatives,” he said.
Bacon also suggested McCarthy himself negotiate with Democrats on committee ratios and office space to possibly get some Democratic votes or for Democrats to simply vote present to lower McCarthy’s threshold.
Sciutto asked if Republicans working with Democrats in such a way is “defying Republican voters,” but Bacon declared, “we have to be Americans first.”
The Republican claimed watching the news and seeing Democrats mock Republicans over the Speaker chaos made him “sick” to his stomach.
“I listened to the news last night. I was sick to my stomach,” he said. “This small group is putting mud all over the Republican Party at this point.”