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...