Republican senators on Tuesday promised to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for GOP Senate leader during Wednesday’s scheduled leadership vote, potentially marking the first time McConnell would receive a “no” vote in his tenure as leader.
A gang of Senate Republicans on Friday tried to postpone the election but McConnell’s election lieutenant, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), has repeatedly stated the election will occur as planned.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated Tuesday that if McConnell holds the election before the Georgia Senate race is decided, they will object to McConnell’s reelection.
“If the excuse is they are uncontested, they will be contested. I have no doubt about that. If nobody else contests, I’ll contest,” Johnson told a Politico reporter.
Cruz echoed the same strategy. “If leadership refuses to delay the election, if leadership tries to ram through an election tomorrow morning, I think it is extremely likely it will be a contested election,” Cruz said. “That you will see one or more senators run against Mitch McConnell.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who has been rumored to be potential opposition to McConnell, said Tuesday he has not yet decided if he will challenge McConnell. “A lot of people have suggested I run and I’m not going to take anything off the table,” he told Politico.
A source who had knowledge about leadership conversations between senators told the Hill that many Republicans see an opportunity to dislodge McConnell as leader.
“Sen. McConnell is pretty much under attack,” the source said. “It was explicitly made known by both groups and leaders that McConnell should delay the leadership election.”
Discussion in Senate GOP lunch focusing on whether to delay the leadership election scheduled for Wednesday, per attendee. McConnell walked through the sizable investment his super PAC made in Senate races across the country
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 15, 2022
It is unknown if McConnell’s opposition has enough votes to defeat him, but Hawley predicted Tuesday McConnell does not have the needed majority support from Republican senators.
If McConnell is reelected Wednesday, he would likely become the longest serving Senate party leader in History.
Opposition to McConnell’s reelection arose after he failed to reclaim the Senate from Democrats during last week’s midterm elections.
Former President Donald Trump has blamed McConnell for Republican failure. “It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault,” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Sunday. “He blew the midterms, and everyone despises him.”