Mitch McConnell Defeats Rick Scott in Senate Leadership Vote: ‘I’m Not Going Anywhere’

November 17, 2022 Updated 9:42 AM ET

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland (Gage Skidmore).
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland (Gage Skidmore).

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FLV) – U.S. Sen. Rick Scott lost in the GOP’s Senate leadership vote to Sen. Mitch McConnell, 37-10.

“I’m not going anywhere,” McConnell remarked after emerging victorious in the face of loud public opposition to his remaining in leadership.

The GOP Senate leader reportedly broke the record of being the longest-serving party leader in Senate history, previously held by Montana Democrat Sen. Mike Mansfield.

“If you simply want to stick with the status quo, don’t vote for me,” Scott told senators before the vote. “We must start saying what we are for, not just what we are against. I do not believe we can simply continue to say the Democrats are radical, which they are. Republican voters expect and deserve to know our plan to promote and advance conservative values.”

Scott’s challenge came after what many Republicans saw as a disappointing midterm election. The GOP faced major swing state Senate losses in Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and now must participate in a runoff in Georgia.

Other states, like Wisconsin, saw GOP-favored races much closer than expected.

The Florida Senator said his leadership would revitalize Republican performances across the U.S.

“We need to listen to their calls for action and start governing in Washington like we campaign back at home. There is a Republican Party that is alive and well in communities across America. It is time there is one in Washington, D.C., too. That is why I am running to be Republican Leader,” he explained.

Scott and McConnell have been at odds over political strategy for most of 2022. Scott believes it’s time for the Senate Republican Conference to be “far more bold and resolute” than it has been.

The Florida senator said the GOP leadership runs on “how bad the Democrats are” and claimed they want to “rush” through the election criticizing McConnell after a push from some members to delay leadership elections.

“The leadership in the Republican Senate says, ‘No, you cannot have a plan, we’re just going to run against how bad the Democrats are.’ And actually then they cave into the Democrats,” said Scott, on Sunday Morning Futures. “Now they want to rush through an election. … They don’t want to do any assessment of what we’ve done wrong.”

Sen. Mike Braun from Indiana was a vocal supporter of Scott, saying the Florida Republican would ensure members would “feel like we’re part of the process. And I think that’s healthy.”

Some Republican members, like Sen. Ted Cruz, wanted to postpone the leadership vote that took place Wednesday. Postponing the vote only garnered the support of 16 members.

Sen. Josh Hawley wanted to postpone the vote because of the upcoming runoff election in Georgia where Republican Herschel Walker is facing off again against Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock.

“I just don’t understand why we would say to Herschel Walker, ‘Please, please, please, please, please, please go win the Senate seat,’ but we are not interested in what you have to say, we don’t want you to have a voice in our elections,” he said.

McConnell said the GOP agrees that Georgia should be their focus for the next month.

“I think everybody in our conference agrees we want to give it our best shot to finish the job in Georgia and concentrate on that for the next month,” McConnell said.

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