Sen. Rick Scott Could Make Run at Majority Leader, if GOP Wins Midterms (Newsmax)
By Jay Clemons | Tuesday, 08 November 2022 05:41 PM EST
A prospective "red wave" from the midterm elections could also lead to a Republican battle for the Senate's most coveted leadership position.
On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., opened up the speculative floodgates by declining to endorse Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the event of Republicans reclaiming the majority in the Senate chamber.
The public refusal from Scott — also the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) — prompted media outlets to wonder if Scott harbors active plans of campaigning to replace McConnell within a Republican-controlled Senate.
"[Scott] might do it. I hope he doesn't," a Senate Republican strategist recently told The Hill.
Another strategist speculated that Scott's leadership plans could also be a steppingstone to a presidential run in 2024.
"One of his advisers said a fight for McConnell is good for him, and he's trying to raise his profile to see what his choices are post-NRSC," the second strategist told The Hill.
Back in March, McConnell told reporters that he would assume the majority leader position, if Republicans broke the current 50-all Senate tie in the midterms.
Leading into that announcement, McConnell reportedly "wasn't happy" that Scott had previously released an 11-point plan for the Senate, which called for "sun-setting all federal legislation" after five years.
"Now let me tell you what will not be part of our agenda: We will not have as part of my agenda a bill that raises taxes on half of the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years," McConnell said then.
A month prior, Scott told CBS News that he would "absolutely" vote for the Kentucky senator to serve another term as the Republican leader.
"I can't imagine there will be a leader besides Mitch McConnell," Scott said in mid-February.
As Newsmax chronicled in October, former President Donald Trump — a political ally to Senator Scott — criticized McConnell for reportedly pulling funds from the Arizona Senate race (featuring Republican candidate Blake Masters) and giving it to the Alaska Senate battle, pitting a pair of Republicans (incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and the Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka) vying for the top spot.
"The Old Broken Crow, Mitchell McConnell, is authorizing $9 million to be spent in order to beat a great Republican, Kelly [Tshibaka], instead of $9 million that could be used for Blake Masters, and other Republicans, that with this money would beat their Democrat opponent," wrote Trump then, in a statement posted on Truth Social.
Shortly before that, McConnell dismissed the "candidate quality" of certain GOP Senate contenders in the midterms, while hinting that Republicans could fall short of taking back the Senate.
It might have been a subtle jab at Trump, whose stable of endorsement Senate challengers includes Masters (Arizona), Tshibaka (Alaska), JD Vance (Ohio), state Attorney General Eric Schmitt (Missouri), Katie Britt (Alabama), Dr. Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania), and Herschel Walker (Georgia).
When asked about McConnell on NBC's "Meet The Press" program from Sunday, Scott provided only a cursory answer.
"I'm not focused on anything except getting a majority Tuesday night," said Scott.