Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won re-election to lead the GOP in the Senate on Wednesday, fending off a challenge from Florida Sen. Rick Scott.
A group of GOP senators called to push off the leadership vote until after the Georgia runoff race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker, according to a Friday report from Politico.
McConnell responded to the senators on Tuesday, dismissing their arguments and pushing forward with the leadership vote.
“I think the outcome is pretty clear,” McConnell said. “I want to repeat again. I have the votes; I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later.”
McConnell, 80, is on track to becoming the longest serving party leader in the Senate. First elected in 1985, McConnell has led Republicans in the Senate for 15 years since 2007. Former Democratic Sen. Michael Mansfield holds the record for longest serving party leader at 16 years from 1961-1977.
Scott, who headed the National Republican Senatorial Committee during midterms, launched his bid to unseat McConnell earlier this week. Scott ran the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm that is chiefly responsible for helping Republicans get elected to the Senate. The Florida senator oversaw an underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterm elections where the GOP lost a slate of close contests and failed to pick up any more seats.
“I’m writing to you today because I believe it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be far more bold and resolute than we have been in the past. We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against,” Scott told fellow Republicans in a letter Tuesday. “I do not believe we can simply continue to say the Democrats are radical, which they are. Republican voters expect and deserve to know our plan to promote and advance conservative values.”
McConnell and Scott and their allies traded barbs in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, pointing fingers and casting blame for the GOP falling short of expectations. Montana Sen. Steve Daines was elected Wednesday to take over the reins at the NRSC heading into 2024.
Scott and the NRSC face questions over their allocation of resources. During a three-hour GOP conference on Tuesday, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Thom Tillis (NC) suggested auditing the NRSC’s expenditures during the campaign season in an effort to understand where Republicans may have gone wrong, according to Politico.
Scott appeared to respond to the push for an investigation in his Wednesday letter, emphasizing his push to reform the Senate GOP’s campaign arm. He took over the NRSC in November 2020 for the 2022 midterm cycle.
“When that’s your starting point, you work really hard to make sure there are transparent processes,” Scott said, “[W]e are more than happy to sit down with any member of the caucus to walk them through our spending.”