Sen. Rick Scott Announces Senate Leader Bid

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
May 22, 2024Congress
Sen. Rick Scott Announces Senate Leader Bid
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) speaks during a press conference in the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 11, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) confirmed Wednesday that he would be pursuing his party’s blessing to be Senate Republicans’ leader during the upcoming 119th Congress.

“I am running to be the next Senate Republican leader,” Mr. Scott announced in a post on X.

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which obtained a copy of a letter Mr. Scott sent to his colleagues.

“I believe that our voters want us to use this leadership election to make a choice to upend the status quo in Washington,” Mr. Scott said in the letter. “If you also believe this to be true and want a leader dedicated to that principle, I would be honored to have the opportunity to earn your support.”

Mr. Scott throws his hat into the ring with two other Republicans vying to replace outgoing Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) are also seeking the job. Sen. John Barasso (R-Wyo.) also planned on running, but ultimately decided to pursue the No. 2 job as Republican whip instead.

Mr. Thune and Mr. Cornyn are seen as representing a more establishment, moderate wing of the Senate GOP caucus, while Mr. Scott trends toward the right of the conference.

McConnell Stepping down

Mr. McConnell, who’s led the conference as both a minority and majority leader since 2007, announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down.

“One of life’s most under-appreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” Mr. McConnell said. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

The announcement came after two significant health scares during which the longtime GOP leader, who is 82 years old, froze for several seconds while speaking. Mr. McConnell nevertheless plans to finish out his term as a senator, which ends in January 2027.

His departure from leadership sets the stage for a showdown among Senate Republicans such as they haven’t seen since President George W. Bush occupied the Oval Office.

Traditionally, these elections are held in November and are done among the conference by secret ballot, including the votes of new and incoming freshmen senators.

During the most recent election, which was held in November 2022, Mr. Scott challenged Mr. McConnell for the top spot.

Mr. Scott received only 10 votes to Mr. McConnell’s 37 votes, with one senator voting present.

That could be a bad sign for Mr. Scott.

Mr. Thune, who currently serves in the No. 2 spot as whip, is favored by some to win the post, as he has close ties to the outgoing Republican leader and could be seen by the caucus as providing continuity in leadership during the next Congress.

Even if he received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who holds less sway in the upper chamber than in the lower, it’s unclear if Mr. Scott could dramatically increase his vote share over what he received in 2022.

Jackson Richman contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

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