- U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell quickly put an end to the Rick Scott rebellion, rejecting a push for a delay in voting until after the Georgia senate race is settled
- The minority leadership vote resulted in an easy win for McConnell by a margin of 27 votes
- The voting was conducted with a secret ballot, so it is impossible to know how senators voted
- Scott and McConnell have clashed all summer on election strategy
On Wednesday afternoon, Mitch McConnell easily cemented his stranglehold on Republican power in the United States Senate. Even with a secret ballot, only 10 GOP senators lodged protest votes in favor of U.S. Senator Rick Scott.
The one-day campaign by Scott to oust McConnell still represented the toughest competition the senior Republican senator from Kentucky has faced for the top leadership job since he became Senate minority leader in 2007. But Scott’s bid nevertheless well short of the 37 senators who voted in favor of maintaining the status quo. One senator abstained from voting.
McConnell will now resume his role as minority leader, a position he’s held since 2006, regardless of the outcome of the U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia next month.
Scott announced 11th hour campaign on Tuesday, posting on Twitter that the “status quo is broken and big change is needed.” A proxy war on the social media platform ensued, with supporters of both senators taking shots at each other. But McConnell swiftly tamped out any drama upon hearing news of Scott’s challenge with a laconic response on Tuesday afternoon, saying, “I have the votes.”
It turns out, he was right. But McConnell, at least publicly, appeared magnanimous in the victory.
“First, I don’t own this job. Anybody who wants to run for it can feel free to do so,” McConnell said in a news conference after the election. “So I’m not in any way offended by an opponent or having a few votes in opposition.”
Scott and McConnell clashed on strategy throughout the 2022 cycle, with Scott criticizing McConnell’s investments in certain Senate races, while McConnell blasted Scott’s 12-point Plan to Rescue America by echoing President Joe Biden’s attack that Scott’s plan the called for raising taxes on poor people. An initial version of the plan contained unclear language that Democrats exploited, forcing Scott to clarify the document as the election season heated up.