Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur Floats ‘Unity Caucus’ To Give McCarthy Speakership

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur expressed willingness in a Wednesday interview to support California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s speakership, saying Democrats who support him could be put in a “special category.”

“I was thinking today, ‘Gosh, Kevin McCarthy was only short a few votes.’ I wish I could be part of some kind of a unity caucus that would yield him the votes — because the Republicans hold the majority — and maybe put us in a special category,” Kaptur told Spectrum News’ Taylor Popielarz. The Speaker of the House vote had not gone to a second ballot since 1923 before Tuesday, when McCarthy failed to ascend to the speakership after three ballots.

Kaptur’s office doubled down on the offer in a statement released later Wednesday. (RELATED: Lauren Boebert Says McCarthy ‘Smugly Rejected’ Key Proposal That Would’ve Gotten Him 218 Votes)

“Marcy Kaptur has always worked across the aisle to get things done. She is proud to support Hakeem Jeffries, and he’d make an excellent Speaker. If, with Republicans in the majority, the path to getting things done for hard-working Northwest Ohioans is forming a coalition leadership group to deliver for the American people, it is no surprise Marcy Kaptur would pitch in to help,” a spokesperson said.

Kaptur, who will become the longest-serving woman in congressional history once she is sworn in, won re-election by 13 points despite running in a toss-up district. National Republicans pulled money out of the race after her GOP opponent was accused of fabricating his military record.

Despite Kaptur’s comments, House Democratic leadership is unlikely to throw a lifeline to McCarthy. Party leadership is urging Democrats to vote against McCarthy and his allies’ proposed motions to adjourn, which would allow them more time to find votes. Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke with GOP McCarthy opponents Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona about Democrats voting present to lower the speakership threshold.

“McCarthy was suggesting he could get Dems to walk away to lower his threshold,” Ocasio-Cortez explained later. “And I fact-checked and said absolutely not.”

McCarthy’s supporters, including Nebraska Republican Rep. Don Bacon, have said they will continue with roll call votes until the Freedom Caucus drops its opposition to his speakership.

Democratic reaction to Kaptur’s offer has been mixed.

I only have one candidate, and that’s Hakeem Jeffries,” fellow Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty told the Daily Caller.

Texas Rep. Al Green is more open to the idea, although he has not “been privy to any conversations along that line.”

A unity speaker “should not be taken off the table,” he told the Daily Caller.