Republican Rick Scott to challenge Mitch McConnell for Senate leadership role
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Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., announces he will challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Senate Republican leadership role. File photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 15 (UPI) — Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., announced plans Tuesday to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., one day before Senate Republicans are scheduled to hold their leadership vote.
Scott announced his challenge during a meeting with GOP members, before tweeting that the U.S. Senate needs a “big change.”
“The status quo is broken and big change is needed,” Scott said in a tweet. “It’s time for new leadership in the Senate that unites Republicans to advance a bold conservative agenda. That’s why I’m running to be the Senate Republican leader.”
The status quo is broken and big change is needed. It’s time for new leadership in the Senate that unites Republicans to advance a bold conservative agenda.
Scott, who currently chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, outlined his case Tuesday to become the next Senate Republican leader in a three-page “Dear Colleague” letter.
“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 wrote.
While Scott targeted leadership for the “disappointing results” in last week’s midterm elections, McConnell blamed fear mongering for the Republicans’ performance.
“Like each of you, I am deeply disappointed by the results of the recent election,” Scott wrote in his letter. “I know there is no shortage of people who are eager to point fingers and assign blame here in Washington, but I won’t be one of them. It’s unproductive and a massive waste of time.”
“We underperformed among independents and moderates because their impression of many of the people in our party and leadership roles is that they are involved in chaos, negativity, excessive attacks and it frightened independent and moderate Republican voters,” McConnell said at a press conference Tuesday.
As Scott promised “to always work to be transparent” and to “lead the conference in developing a positive, aspirational agenda,” a number of conservatives have called on Senate and House leaders to delay leadership elections until the results are in for the Georgia Senate runoff, which is scheduled for Dec. 6, as well as several House races which are still undecided.
McConnell, who has held his leadership position since 2007 and is the longest-serving GOP leader in Senate history, told reporters Tuesday he is confident he will retain his role.
“I think it’s pretty obvious we may or may not be voting for Senate leadership tomorrow,” McConnell said. “But I think the outcome is pretty clear. I want to repeat again: I have the votes. I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later.”