Rick Scott Will Run to Replace Mitch McConnell as Republican Leader

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) (C) speaks to members of the pr
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The race to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is getting crowded.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) announced to his colleagues Wednesday afternoon he will run to lead Senate Republicans next Congress, writing, “I believe now is a moment we need dramatic change.”

Sens. John Thune (R-SD), currently McConnell’s top deputy, and John Cornyn (R-TX) announced their own bids quickly after McConnell announced in February he would not run for another term as Senate Republican leader.

Scott challenged McConnell in late 2022 for the top spot, running as a conservative alternative to the Kentuckian. McConnell received 37 “yes” votes and ten votes against, with one senator voting present.

However, that vote represented the first time McConnell received a challenge since ascending to the top post of Senate Republicans.

Scott made clear in his Wednesday letter he will own the lane of change agent over the establishment-aligned Thune and Cornyn.

“There have been far too many backroom deals cut in secret, rarely do things go through the committee process, and it’s accepted practice to not allow amendment votes to trillion-dollar spending bills,” he wrote. “We are routinely surprised with legislation and asked to vote on it without having had an input or even time to review it.”

He blasted McConnell – without naming him once in the letter – for advancing causes that divide Republicans but unite Democrats. “Republicans all across America want the Republicans they elected to the U.S. Senate to stop caving in to Democrat demands,” he writes. “This is not an unreasonable request or expectation.”

Scott’s letter comes as the top House Republican wrestles with his fate after adopting a McConnell-aligned leadership strategy. Johnson has so routinely advanced Democratic Party priorities on marquee issues that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has repeatedly boasted of running the House agenda.

Johnson in early May faced a motion to vacate – essentially a recall vote – and was saved with 163 Democrats choosing to save him. His future leading House Republicans beyond this Congress is uncertain.

However, Senate and House dynamics are different. In the Senate, each party chooses its own leader with a simple majority vote, whereas the Speaker of the House must receive a majority of support from the full House.

Scott says he will pursue a different path, highlighting eight promises to increase transparency and empower his own Senators.

Significantly, Scott asserted his belief that the leader should be limited to a six-year term. McConnell, by contrast, has led Senate Republicans since 2007, making him the longest serving Senate party leader in history.

Scott writes he believes Donald Trump will win the November election “with a mandate for dramatic change,” a marked difference from his two challengers who are notably cool on Trump. He pledged to work closely with President Trump while protecting senators’ interests.

The Senate Republican Conference is not expected to vote on McConnell’s replacement until after the November elections, perhaps as late as December.

Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.


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