McConnell Wins Senate GOP Leader Reelection

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) for his post, securing another two years as GOP Senate leader.

McConnell Wins Senate GOP Leader Reelection
Image credit: NPR

Facts

  • On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) for his post, securing another two years as GOP Senate leader.
  • McConnell — the longest-serving GOP leader in Senate history — won the leadership vote 37-10, with one senator abstaining.
  • Scott, McConnell's first challenger in 15 years, had announced his bid the day before, pitching himself as the candidate to change the status quo.
  • The two challengers have publicly feuded over the party’s message, outlook, and spending for the 2022 midterms. Former Pres. Donald Trump has blamed McConnell for Republican losses this election cycle, while others have blamed Trump.
  • Spending decisions have played a major part in dividing the party, with Scott reportedly spending more than 95% of the committee’s record fundraising haul by the end of July 2022. For his part, McConnell has taken heat for pulling television spending from Arizona, where Blake Masters lost his race to Democrat Mark Kelly.
  • Apart from McConnell, the GOP voted for Sen. John Thune (S.D.) as whip; Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.) as conference chair; Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa) as policy chair; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.) as conference vice chair; and Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) as National Republican Senatorial Committee chair — with Congress beginning on Jan. 3.

Sources: NPR Online News, FOX News, CNN, and Daily Wire.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Federalist. McConnell has proven he can no longer effectively lead the GOP in the Senate. This election cycle, he undermined the party by criticizing the quality of the candidates. He also spent too much on incumbents and short-changed challengers, leaving Scott to make up the spending deficit. This is a disappointing outcome.
  • Narrative B, as provided by CNN. Knowing he had no shot at upending McConnell, Scott was merely trying to save face for his failures in the midterms. His challenge to the leader was nothing more than an attempt to make McConnell look bad, pass the buck for the GOP’s shortcomings and, most importantly, win favor with former Pres. Trump, whose disdain for McConnell is well known.