Bowman: "Jeffries Is the Unity Candidate"

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) discussing midterm election results on Nov. 9, 2022.


(Screengrab/al Jazeera)

As the House moved into its fifth ballot vote for speaker, in the second day of voting, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) told TYT that the only unity candidate Democrats will support is Minority Leader-elect Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been vying for the top spot and, with the GOP fractured, has received fewer votes than Jeffries every time. Members of both parties have floated the idea of Democrats breaking the stalemate by joining some Republicans to support a compromise candidate.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), said Tuesday she wished she could be part of “some kind of a unity caucus” to put McCarthy over the top.

When asked about that scenario, however, Bowman shot it down. He told TYT during the fourth round of voting that, “Hakeem Jeffries is the unity candidate.”

Bowman said, “If Republicans were really paying attention and if they were serious about really debating the issues, we could get on that floor right now and debate every single issue down the line and it would be clear that Hakeem is the unity candidate.”

Today marks the second day the House is engaging in multiple rounds of voting to choose a House speaker. It’s the first time this has happened in 100 years.

The prospect of newly elected majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), as a unity candidate Democrats could get behind had been floated before Tuesday’s voting began.

When asked whether progressives or the broader Democratic caucus would consider any Republican candidate for speaker, Bowman offered a stark, “No.”

Bowman called McCarthy’s failure to secure the votes he needs and keep the far-right MAGA wing of his party in check “an embarrassment for the Republican party. It’s an embarrassment for Kevin McCarthy personally.”

Jeffries has retained a steady 212 united vote from Democrats. McCarthy got 201 from Republicans in the fourth round. And newly nominated Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) received 20 votes from McCarthy’s defectors. There was one “present” vote.

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) told TYT that his party isn’t at the point of nominating a unity candidate as an alternative to McCarthy yet. When asked if the speaker selection process is likely to extend beyond this week, Crenshaw responded, “Oh, yeah.”

TYT Washington Correspondent Candice Cole was previously a correspondent and senior White House producer for the Black News Channel and has worked at a number of local news outlets. You can find her on Twitter @CandiceColeNews.