Lindsey Graham Joins GOP Senators Opposing Quick McConnell Vote Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Monday, 14 November 2022 02:44 PM EST
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has joined the expanding list of prominent Republican senators requesting a pause in this week's GOP Senate elections.
On Sunday night, Graham offered his two cents on the party's in-house, timing-based debate, through a two-part Twitter message:
Tweet #1: "In light of #GASen runoff, it would be appropriate to delay Senate leadership elections until we know who is in the Senate Republican Conference. … I totally agree with Senator @TedCruz that to do otherwise would be disrespectful to @HerschelWalker."
Tweet #2: "All Republicans should be focused on winning in Georgia and trying to understand the midterm elections before Senate leadership elections or moving on to the 2024 presidential race."
Earlier Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, offered a similar message to his fellow Republicans, tweeting out, "The idea that Senate Republicans would have leadership elections on Wednesday is insane! #Verdict," while also promoting his podcast on Twitter.
Also last week, according to Politico, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., voiced their concerns about holding Senate elections this week.
Hawley went even further in stating 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.
With Graham, Cruz, Hawley, Lummis, Schmitt, and Rubio on board for suspending the party election, it potentially gives more credibility to action by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who penned a letter to their Senate colleagues last week, 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 Democrats preserved control of the chamber over the weekend, amid reports of the Nevada Senate race projecting a victory for incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., who rallied past Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.
The Senate race in Georgia remains in limbo, since neither incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker cleared 50% of the total vote in last week's election.
The runoff between the two candidates will take place Dec. 6. Graham referenced that battle in his tweets.
The fate of Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., becoming Senate majority leader could be at stake for the Senate elections, regardless of its date.
In addition to former President Donald Trump demanding McConnell step down from his role, a number of U.S. senators have publicly questioned the GOP leader's methods for investing in certain Senate candidates — while pulling funds from others.
For example, McConnell recently caught heat for providing extra attention and funding 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 has Tshibaka leading Murkowski by more than 1 percentage point, or 3,100-plus votes, with 74% of precincts reporting.
Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso, R-Wyo. reportedly wrote the GOP senators last week, encouraging the group to follow through on a "robust" discussion about the GOP's Senate agenda, moving forward.
However, Barrasso did not signal any changes in the timing of this 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.