With frontrunner Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California out of the race for House Speaker, factions within the House GOP caucus are starting to talk about a consensus candidate, Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador told KBOI radio Thursday.
Republican House members “were all in shock” after McCarthy’s announcement Thursday, Labrador said, even though the House Freedom Caucus that Labrador helped create, had told McCarthy they would not support him, as they told Speaker John Boehner before that. The group of hardline conservatives have endorsed Florida Rep. Daniel Webster.
Labrador said House members are talking to each other about “somebody we can all agree to.” The Freedom Caucus still formally supports Webster, a former Florida House speaker and Senate majority leader, he said.
“He was actually able to bring people together in those two chambers because he believed in a member-driven chamber,” Labrador said. “Instead of a top-down (chamber), where the speaker makes every decision.”
Asked if he might be a candidate, Labrador said no.
“It’s very hard to lead the revolution and then turn around and be the leader of the party,” Labrador told radio host Nate Shelman. “George Washington could do that, but it’s not often done.”
Labrador said some House members are mad at him for being part of the bloc of conservatives opposed to Boehner and McCartthy that have helped create the leadership crisis. But, said Labrador, those who “are mad at me right now, they’re happy that we’re making changes, because they’ve been wanting those changes. It’s just that they didn’t have the upper lip and the stiff spine to stand up.”
After McCarthy’s stunner announcement, Boehner said he would remain as speaker until a successor is elected. Idaho’s other House member, Mike Simpson, a Boehner ally and friend, had been expected to back McCarthy to replace Boehner. Simpson could not be reached for comment Thursday.