Rick Scott announces bid for Senate GOP Leader, emphasizes need for change

by | May 23, 2024

Sen. Rick Scott announced his candidacy for Senate Republican leader, emphasizing the need for change and aligning himself with former President Donald Trump, joining South Dakota Senator John Thune and Texas Senator John Cornyn in the race to succeed Mitch McConnell

Sen. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he will run for Senate Republican leader when Sen. Mitch McConnell steps down from his post, becoming the third Republican vying for the role, joining South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

Scott’s campaign for Senate GOP leader was announced to his fellow lawmakers in a letter he sent to his Republican colleagues, outlining his vision for the party’s future. Within the document, Scott noted the need for “dramatic change and transparency” within the Senate, and criticized its current leadership structure, drawing attention to issues such as the national debt, border security, military readiness, and economic challenges. Scott argued that the country is “in deep, deep trouble” and called for a new direction in leadership to address these issues.

“Senate Republican leadership should reflect the views and aspirations of Republican voters. It’s no secret that Republican voters believe we don’t fight hard enough for the issues they care about,” he wrote. “We will have a historic opportunity to solve our country’s problems.”

The senator appeared on Fox News on Wednesday night, where he described himself as a “change agent” and lobbied his commitment to altering the “status quo” in the Senate.

“I am a change agent. I was a change agent in business. I did turnarounds. I changed Florida,” Scott said. “We’re going to change the Senate. We’re going to be the Senate that helps Donald Trump get his conservative agenda done.”

Scott is a political ally of former President Donald Trump, the likely GOP presidential nominee. His favorability with Trump could benefit Scott, he contended, particularly if Trump wins another term. Notably, Scott was among the first GOP lawmakers to support Trump by attending his criminal trial in New York, where he accompanied the former President into the courtroom.

McConnell, who has served as the GOP leader since 2007, announced in February that he would step down from the position after the November elections but will continue to serve in the Senate. Scott is a prominent ally of former President Donald Trump, who is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. His close relationship with Trump could be advantageous, particularly if Trump succeeds in his bid to return to the White House. Scott was one of the first GOP lawmakers to attend Trump’s hush money trial in New York, accompanying the former president into the courtroom and defending him publicly.

Scott’s relationship with McConnell has been strained, particularly following the 2022 elections when Scott led the Republican Senate campaign arm. The party failed to regain the majority, and Scott’s public criticisms of McConnell’s strategies have highlighted their divergent approaches. In 2022, Scott challenged McConnell for the leadership position but secured only 10 votes out of the 49-member GOP conference.

Thune and Cornyn, Scott’s competitors, have both endorsed Trump.


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