Rick Scott announces run for Senate Republican leader

Three Republicans are now vying for the top GOP job in the Senate.

Senator Rick Scott has announced his candidacy for the position of Senate Republican leader by sending a letter to his Republican colleagues, expressing his dedication to upending the status quo in Washington and seeking their support.

The announcement makes Scott the third Senate Republican to join the race following Senator Mitch McConnell’s late February decision to step down from his current position as the Republican leader, a role he has held for approximately 17 years.


The big picture: Senators John Thune of South Dakota, the current Republican whip, and John Cornyn of Texas, who previously held the No. 2 role before terming out, have also declared their intent to run for the position.

  • In 2022, Scott had previously challenged McConnell for the top role during a closed-door leadership election. While McConnell easily defeated him, Scott did garner significant support from members on the right of the conference seeking a major overhaul of the conference’s functioning.
  • This announcement comes after Scott publicly disagreed with McConnell, releasing his 11-point plan outlining conservative approaches on various topics that occasionally diverged from the party’s official positions. Scott, who was then the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, made the release in his personal capacity, not as the committee’s head.
  • Despite the disagreements, Scott’s positions were backed by some Republican colleagues, and in his recent letter, he pledged to continue implementing substantial changes to the regular order if elected as party leader, emphasizing the need for a dramatic “sea change” to benefit the country.
  • The Senate leadership race is anticipated to occur behind closed doors and by secret ballot in the late fall or early winter, following the November election, which will determine whether Republicans regain control of the White House or the Senate.
  • The potential sway of former President Donald Trump on the leadership race outcome remains uncertain, with many Republicans considering him as a factor in their vote. Scott, a long-time supporter of Trump, emphasized his close association with the former President in his letter, expressing his commitment to protecting senators’ interests while working to help Trump achieve his objectives.

What they’re saying: “I believe that our voters want us to use this leadership election to make a choice to upend the status quo in Washington,” 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.”

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