Rick Scott won’t commit to backing McConnell as GOP Senate leader

By | September 13, 2022

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott this week declined to back Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for another term as leader of the Senate Republicans.

Scott was asked by Fox News Digital at the National Conservatism Conference if he supported McConnell in the leadership position next year.

“We’ll see what he wants to do,” said Scott, R-Fla. “We’ll have an election after the November elections, I’m confident that we’re going to get a majority. So, we’ll make a decision then.”

The remarks come amid rumors of a long-simmering feud between Scott and McConnell even as they work to ensure the GOP retakes the Senate majority.

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Those rumors have only increased as Senate Democrats outraise Republicans in contests considered critical to the GOP’s effort to win the majority.

Tension between the two grew after McConnell told an audience in his home state of Kentucky that the House had a better chance of flipping to the GOP than the Senate.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” said McConnell. “Senate races are just different, they’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

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Scott rejected McConnell’s conclusion about “candidate quality” but said such disagreements were not enough to hamper the GOP’s efforts to retake the majority.

“We clearly have a strategic disagreement about the quality of our candidates. I believe we have great candidates this year,” Scott told Fox News Digital. “But we’re both working well to make sure we get our majority back. I appreciate what he’s doing.”

The duo first clashed earlier this year when Scott released an agenda for what he believed Republicans should accomplish once in power. Democrats seized on the plan for proposing that Congress should reauthorize federal programs every five years and suggesting that all Americans should pay some level of income tax.

McConnell was quick to repudiate the agenda publicly, arguing that it was not the official platform of the Senate Republican Conference.

“Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda,” McConnell said at a March press conference. “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”

McConnell’s allies say it was improper for Scott to release the proposal given his role in leading the Senate GOP campaign committee. Scott, who never claimed the proposal spoke for all Senate Republicans, has since revised the agenda to exclude the controversial portions.

The purported disagreement between Scott and McConnell is part of a larger division among Republicans this cycle.

Some, like McConnell, want the midterms to be a referendum on 40-year high inflation and President Biden. Others, like Scott, say Republicans must present an alternative to the Democrats if they want to earn the voters’ trust.

“When I ran [for governor] in 2010, I had a very specific plan to turn around the Florida economy, which we did,” Scott told Fox News Digital. “I think we ought to be talking about exactly what we are going to do to turn around this country, rescue this country.”

McConnell’s political team declined to comment for this story.