Florida Sen. Rick Scott speaks during a news conference following the GOP weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill on September 20, 2022.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida announced during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that he will challenge Mitch McConnell for the right to lead Senate Republicans.
Scott’s challenge comes as former President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans blame McConnell for a lackluster midterm election. Democrats held onto the Senate majority by flipping a seat in Pennsylvania and defending Democratic-held seats in close races in Arizona and Nevada. They will retain their majority regardless of the outcome of the December Georgia Senate runoff, though Democrats would wield greater power if Sen. Raphael Warnock is reelected.
McConnell’s allies have blamed Scott for some of the party’s midterm struggles. As the leader of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, Scott played a key role in shaping his party’s strategy. Scott is also a current member of McConnell’s leadership team. The duo has clashed repeatedly, including over Scott’s decision to introduce his own policy plan ahead of the midterms. President Joe Biden and other top Democrats repeatedly attacked Republicans over the possibility that the plan would lead to social security coming up for a vote every five years.
Unlike McConnell, Scott did not want the GOP to aggressively intervene in contested primaries, which led to Trump-backed challengers like Dr. Mehmet Oz and Don Bolduc emerging in key races in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
This is McConnell’s first time facing a challenger the leadership position, his office told NBC News.
McConnell has easily won past elections to lead the Senate GOP. He is known for both his fundraising ability and his knowledge of how to manage the Senate floor. But some of his colleagues are increasingly concerned about being led by a figure who has virtually no relationship with Trump. The two top Republicans’ relationship crumbled in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot and the twin losses in the 2021 Georgia runoff that handed the chamber to Democrats.
Scott is a rising figure in Republican politics who is thought to harbor presidential ambitions. He narrowly won his Senate seat in 2018.
This is a developing story. Stay with Insider for more updates.
Insider reporter Brian Metzger contributed to this report.
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Source:: Business Insider