UNITED STATES

GOP Sen. Scott mounts long-shot bid to unseat McConnell

Nov 15, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: 4:30 pm

Florida Sen. Rick Scott hopes to challenge longtime GOP Sen. leader Mitch McConnel....

FILE: Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks to reporters following a closed-door briefing about increasing threats to law enforcement following the FBIs search at Mar-a-Lago, on Capitol Hill September 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Florida Sen. Rick Scott is mounting a long-shot bid to unseat Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a rare challenge for the longtime GOP stalwart after his party failed to win back the majority in the midterm elections.

Scott, the leader of the GOP’s Senate campaign efforts who has long feuded with McConnell over the midterm elections, was one in a small group of senators who wrote a letter to the Republican caucus over the weekend asking for a delay in this week’s leadership elections “to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024.”

Republican senators were having those discussions at their regular party lunch on Tuesday, but they were not expect to end in McConnell’s defeat. The Kentucky senator, who has been Senate GOP leader for the last 15 years, was confident he had the backing to return for another Congress.

“Of course” I have the votes, he told reporters on Monday.

While unlikely to succeed, Scott’s unexpected challenge to McConnell comes as Republicans are wrestling over a lackluster performance in the midterms, when the party out of power historically sees significant gains. Instead, the Senate will stay in Democratic hands and the House margin is so narrow that it hasn’t been called yet.

“I believe it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be far more bold and resolute than we have been in the past,” Scott said in a letter he sent to colleagues as the GOP meeting was still going on. “We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against.”

Scott listed the many reasons he was running, including that Republicans had compromised too much with Democrats in the last Congress — producing bills that President Joe Biden has counted as successes and that Democrats ran on in the 2022 election.

“Some believe we don’t have a positive message to run on,” Scott wrote. “Some believe we don’t hold the executive branch accountable. Some believe we constantly give in to the Democrats and have no backbone.”

Many Republican senators going into Tuesday’s meeting called it a “family conversation” that was necessary. But most appeared to be sticking with McConnell, a master of Senate procedure who has made protecting his incumbent senators his top priority.

“Mitch has ice in his veins,” said North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer before the meeting. Speculating before Scott announced his bid, Cramer said the “obvious problem” is that Scott led the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s Senate campaign arm.

“If you’re going to make this about assessing blame for losing an election, I don’t know how the NRSC chairman gets off the hook,” Cramer said.

The feud between Scott and McConnell has been percolating for months and reached a boil after the party’s lackluster showing in last week’s midterm elections, according to senior Republican strategists who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Operatives for the two have traded barbs for more than a year over the handling of Senate Republican political strategy — or, in the view of some, the lack thereof.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

boeing logo...

Associated Press

Boeing ousts head of 737 jetliner program weeks after panel blowout on a flight over Oregon

Boeing announced the departure of Ed Clark, who had been with the company for 18 years.

13 hours ago

A pail rests next to caution tape on a beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2...

Associated Press

Young girl killed when a hole she dug in the sand collapsed on a Florida beach, authorities said

A young girl died Tuesday when a deep hole she was digging collapsed on her at a south Florida beach, authorities said.

21 hours ago

kansas city shooting...

NICK INGRAM Associated Press

2 adults are charged with murder in the deadly shooting at Kansas City’s Super Bowl celebration

The new charges come after two juveniles were charged for the Kansas City shooting last week.

2 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

4 days ago

The likeness of George Washington is seen on a U.S. $1 bill, March 13, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa...

BEN FINLEY ASSOCIATED PRESS

Presidents Day: From George Washington’s modest birthdays to big sales and 3-day weekends

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Like the other Founding Fathers, George Washington was uneasy about the idea of publicly celebrating his life. He was the first leader of a new republic — not a tyrant. And yet the nation will once again commemorate the first U.S. president on Monday, 292 years after he was born. The […]

4 days ago

new home construction show, homebuilding is down in the US...

Anna Bahney, CNN

US homebuilding sees biggest drop since April 2020

Housing starts, a measure of new home construction, fell by 14.8%, compared with the previous month.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

GOP Sen. Scott mounts long-shot bid to unseat McConnell