Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) top lieutenant Josh Holmes on Tuesday shifted blame from Senate leadership to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) for allowing Democrats to retain control of the Senate.
Holmes accused Scott’s National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) of excluding input from the Republican establishment on how to best combat Senate Democrat candidates.
“It was run basically as a Rick Scott super PAC, where they didn’t want or need to input any Republican senators whatsoever,” Holmes told the Wall Street Journal about the action committee. “That’s a huge break from recent history where members have been pretty intimately involved.”
Leading up to the election, McConnell and his team had been critical of Scott’s management of the NRSC, accusing them of supporting poor candidates and unwisely investing early in Senate races.
Scott rejected those accusations and publicly rebuked the “treasonous” “trash-talking” in September. “It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause,” Scott wrote in the Washington Examiner.
As McConnell’s team took shots at Scott’s NRSC during the 2022 cycle, the McConnell-backed super PAC was busy defunding Arizona and New Hampshire GOP Senate candidates while PAC spending $9 million to fund pro-impeachment Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) against Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka. The Alaskan Senate race has yet to be decided.
On Monday, NRSC spokesman Chris Hartline pushed back on McConnell and his lieutenants for not only publicly voicing opposition to Scott’s NRSC leadership but also for downing the committee to potential donors. McConnell’s team has boasted they gave more funds to the GOP candidates than the NRSC.
Speaking with the Journal, Hartline said McConnell hurt Republicans’ chances of retaking the Senate by “constantly trashing our candidates publicly and privately, and telling donors not to give to us or our campaigns.”
The McConnell strategy of shifting blame to Scott for the 2022 election failure comes as McConnell is seeking to be reelected as GOP Senate leader on Wednesday. If he succeeds, McConnell will likely become the longest serving Senate party leader in History.
Not everyone is on board with McConnell remaining leader after the Republican Party failed to reclaim the Senate. Many senators have opposed McConnell’s immediate reelection, citing the unfinished Georgia Senate race. Among them are Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Mike Lee (R-UT).
“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” a circulated Friday letter from Johnson, Lee, and Scott read. “We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024.”
Civiqs polling on Monday revealed just seven percent of voters view McConnell favorably, while 81 percent view him unfavorably.
Under McConnell’s tenure, the national debt has soared more than $20 trillion, illegal immigration has continued, real wages for American workers have remained stagnant, Obamacare was enacted in 2010, big banks were bailed out in 2008, and social media companies have silenced individuals without repercussions. Dr. Anthony Fauci remains unaccountable for allegedly twice lying to Congress.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.