Rick Scott to Run for Republican Leader, Aiming to Replace Mitch McConnell

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The competition to succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is intensifying.

Sens. John Thune (R-SD), currently McConnell’s top deputy, and John Cornyn (R-TX) quickly declared their candidacies after McConnell announced in February he would not run for another term as Senate Republican leader.

This vote marked the first time McConnell faced a challenge since he assumed the top position among Senate Republicans.

In his Wednesday letter, Scott stated his intent to position himself as a change agent in contrast to the establishment-friendly Thune and Cornyn.

“There have been far too many backroom deals cut in secret. Rarely do things go through the committee process, and it’s an accepted practice to not allow amendment votes on trillion-dollar spending bills,” he wrote. “We are routinely surprised by legislation and asked to vote on it without having had any input or even time to review it.”

He criticized McConnell – without directly naming him – for supporting initiatives that divide Republicans but unite Democrats. “Republicans across America want the Republicans they elected to the U.S. Senate to stop yielding to Democrat demands,” he writes. “This is not an unreasonable request or expectation.”

Johnson faced a motion to vacate – effectively a recall vote – in early May and was saved with 163 Democrats choosing to support him. His future leading House Republicans beyond this Congress remains uncertain.

However, the dynamics in the Senate and House are different. In the Senate, each party selects its own leader with a simple majority vote, whereas the Speaker of the House must gain a majority of support from the full House.

Scott has pledged to chart a different course, outlining eight promises to boost transparency and empower his Senators.

Notably, Scott emphasized that the leader should be limited to a six-year term. In contrast, McConnell has led Senate Republicans since 2007, making him the longest-serving Senate party leader in history.

The Senate Republican Conference is not expected to vote on McConnell’s successor until after the November elections, possibly as late as December.

Bradley Jaye
Bradley Jaye
Political reporter.

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