Growing Number of GOP Senators Call for a Hold on McConnell Vote (Newsmax)
By Jay Clemons | Friday, 11 November 2022 06:58 PM EST
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. isn't the only prominent Republican calling for a pause in next week's Senate leadership elections.
On Friday, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., reportedly circulated a letter to their Senate colleagues, imploring them to postpone the leadership votes, which are slated to run Wednesday morning.
"We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize [on Election Night], and there are multiple reasons it did not," the senators wrote in the letter, according to Politico. "We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024."
According to the Newsmax elections tracker, the Senate Republicans currently lead the Democrats by a 49-48 count — with the races in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona still too close to call.
In Nevada, Republican candidate Adam Laxalt owns a slim lead over incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., with approximately 94% of precincts reporting.
In Arizona, Republican candidate Blake Masters trails incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., but that race could come down to the wire, if the majority of the remaining 570,000-plus ballots favor the Republican ticket.
And the Georgia race will have a Dec. 6 runoff, since neither incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker cleared 50% of the total vote in Tuesday's election.
To overtake the majority in the Senate, the Republicans would need to win two of the three final races, since all ties would be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat.
And should the Republicans carry all three Senate battles in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, it would full fulfill's Sen. Scott's recent prediction of the Republicans holding 52 seats, while appearing on Newsmax.
The Johnson-Lee-Scott letter seemingly has odd timing, given how Politico also reported Friday that Scott would be withdrawing his interest in replacing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. as the "Senate Majority Leader" next year — if the Republicans won the Senate majority in the midterm elections.
Scott's actions aside, McConnell's leadership legacy could be in peril. Former President Donald Trump has often criticized McConnell for favoring "establishment" Senate candidates, instead of embracing "America First" or MAGA candidates.
Also, a number of U.S. senators have spoken out against McConnell, questioning his methods for investing in certain Senate candidates — while pulling funds from others.
One prime example: McConnell recently caught heat for giving extra attention to the Alaska Senate race, even though two Republicans — incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and challenger Kelly Tshibaka — were competing against each other for the Senate seat.
The Newsmax elections tracker currently has Tshibaka leading Murkowski by more than 1 percentage point, with 70% of precincts reporting.
According to Politico, the quartet of Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., also prefers to delay next week's leadership vote.
Earlier this week, Hawley publicly stated he would vote against McConnell as leader. Also, Senator-elect Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., has requested the Senate Republicans seek out new leadership, heading into 2023.
As a counter, Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso, R-Wyo. reportedly wrote the GOP senators on Friday.
In the letter, Barrasso said he supports the notion of a "robust" discussion about the Senate GOP's agenda, moving forward.
However, Barrasso had no plans of delaying next week's leadership vote.
"After presentations from candidates, and there is every opportunity to address questions from every member, we will complete leadership elections," wrote Barrasso, according to Politico.