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Herman Cain chances for Fed seat sink as fourth GOP senator comes out against him

Herman Cain chances for Fed seat sink as fourth GOP senator comes out against him
Herman Cain speaks during Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority event in Washington, D.C., in June 2014. (Molly Riley / AP)

A fourth Senate Republican said Thursday he’d vote against Herman Cain joining the Federal Reserve Board, all but sinking any chance of the former pizza-chain executive making it through the confirmation process if Democrats stay united in their opposition.

North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer said he wouldn’t back Cain if President Trump nominates him to the Fed, and hopes the president will make another choice.

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“If I had to vote today, I couldn’t vote for Herman Cain,” said Cramer, a Trump ally. “The allegations that drove him from the presidential race are just so obviously serious. I’m not talking about his position on interest rates or anything like that, but the sexual harassment stuff. Until it’s better explained I couldn’t vote for him.”

Cain’s bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination ended after he was accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s, when he led the National Restaurant Assn. Cain, 73, was also accused of conducting an extramarital affair. He denied both.

At the White House, Trump didn’t respond to a question about Cain at an Oval Office meeting about veterans.

Cramer joins Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Cory Gardner of Colorado in expressing opposition to a Cain nomination, which would leave him with just 49 potential Republican votes in the 100-member chamber.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he didn’t know of any Democrats who would vote to confirm Cain, and GOP leaders, including Republican Whip John Thune, have said they don’t expect Democratic defections.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Thursday declined to comment about whether he would personally support the nomination of either Cain or Trump’s other pick, Stephen Moore, saying neither of Trump’s choices has been formally sent to the Senate.

“I don’t think we have a nomination,” McConnell said in an interview when asked about Cain. “I do think there are two obviously critical components of making a nomination. One is a background check and the other is the likelihood of confirmability. And as you know, some of my members have expressed concerns about that nomination.”

Trump has announced Cain and former campaign advisor Moore as his choices to fill two open Fed seats, but hasn’t taken the formal step of issuing a nomination.

Cain said in a video posted on Facebook on April 5 that he faced a “cumbersome” vetting process for the Fed seat, suggesting he may be considering withdrawing. Trump this week said it would be up to Cain whether he wanted to follow through with a nomination.

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