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McConnell Reelected GOP Senate Leader

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Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has earned enough votes to continue as the GOP Senate leader.

McConnell gained enough support after a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

GOP Senator Announces Bid for Mitch McConnell’s Leadership Role

Axios reported:

McConnell won 37 votes to Scott’s 10, according to a person in the room. It was the first time McConnell had a leadership challenger in 15 years.

  • Prior to the vote, the two had been engaged in a public tit-for-tat over who was responsible for last Tuesday’s election results. McConnell’s resounding win came after conservatives had pushed to delay the elections until after the Georgia Senate runoff next month.
  • A motion to delay the votes, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), failed after 16 senators voted for it and 32 voted against it.

What Scott’s saying: “Although the results of today’s elections weren’t what we hoped for, this is far from the end of our fight to Make Washington Work,” he said in a statement following the vote.

The backdrop: Scott’s decision earlier this year to release a multipoint Republican agenda that featured new taxes infuriated McConnell, who swiftly publicly rejected it. The plan ultimately provided extensive attack fodder that President Biden leveraged in support of his party.

The New York Post added:

The Kentuckian’s victory puts him on track to become the longest-serving Senate party leader, surpassing the 16 years Montana Democrat Mike Mansfield led his party from 1961 to 1977. McConnell has led the Senate GOP since 2007.

The vote took place against the backdrop of Republican discontent over their failure to regain the Senate in last week’s midterm elections — despite public disapproval of President Biden’s handling of the economy amid the highest inflation in four decades.

The 69-year-old Scott, a former Florida governor, insisted to his colleagues it was time for a change, writing in his candidate letter: “If you simply want to stick with the status quo, don’t vote for me.”

However, Scott came under fire over his two-year tenure running the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, which spent more than $235 million, failed to flip a single seat, and lost the open Pennsylvania seat held by the retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.

The conference also elected other members to top leadership posts.

The results included:

  • Sen. John Thune of South Dakota was reelected as minority whip.
  • Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was reelected as conference chair.
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia was elected vice conference chair.
  • Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa was elected policy chair.
  • Sen. Steve Daines of Montana was elected to replace Scott as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

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