Report: Rick Scott Could be Gunning for Mitch McConnell’s Leadership Spot

GOP Senate Majority Could Bring Fight For Leadership Between McConnell And Rick Scott
McConnell-YouTube Screen Shot MSNBC 5/18/22 Scott: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Gage Skidmore 7/17/21

By all accounts, election day should be a good one for Republicans. It has been thought for a while that the GOP would take control of the House, but up until very recently, Senate prospects were much dimmer.

Since the Senate has started to look a bit more promising for Republicans, talk has emerged of a changing of the guard in Senate leadership.

Specifically, the whispers involve Florida Senator Rick Scott taking on current Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has held the top spot in the party since 2006.

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Differences Of Opinion

One particular incident was Scott’s recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” with Chuck Todd on Sunday.

Scott fueled more speculation when he would not endorse McConnell as Majority Leader when prompted by Todd.

Might seem like a small thing, but in such a charged topic, it speaks volumes.

More public and explosive incidents have occurred, though.

Scott, in his capacity as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee was less than pleased with some of McConnell’s comments about some GOP candidates. McConnell was at an event in August when he said of Senate races, “Senate races are just different, they’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.” 

To translate: McConnell doesn’t like actual conservatives running for office.

At the time of McConnell’s comments, Scott challenged him saying the two had “a strategic disagreement,” and felt he had to defend GOP candidates – saying McConnell’s comments were “not productive.”

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The “Elephant” In The Room

What could be one giant advantage for Rick Scott, should he challenge McConnell, lies in the presence of Donald Trump. Scott has been a dependable ally of Trump. The relationship between Trump and McConnell has gone steadily downhill since McConnell blamed Trump outright for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.  

Rick Scott may also have another advantage. Many Trump-endorsed Senate candidates have good chances of winning their races on Tuesday. Among them, Arizona’s Blake Masters, whose race McConnell-aligned PACS pulled out of and left other conservative groups to fund.

Masters said during a debate that McConnell is “not bad at everything. He’s good at judges. He’s good at blocking Democrats. You know what he’s not good at? Legislating.”

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Alaska Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, and J.D. Vance in Ohio – the latter another Trump-endorsed candidate who has a good shot at winning – have both said the Senate leadership “needs new blood.” Vance also added that McConnell is “a little out of touch with the base.” 

In Missouri, Attorney General and Senate candidate Eric Schmitt put it pretty plainly, “Mitch McConnell hasn’t endorsed me and I don’t endorse him for leadership.”

McConnell on the other hand, is losing many of his closest supporters, including Richard Shelby (AL), Roy Blunt (MO), Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), Pat Toomey (PA), and Ben Sasse (NE).

If Republicans take control of the Senate, and Rick Scott does decide to run for the Leader position, he just may have a whole new set of supporters.

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