Florida Senator Rick Scott takes another run at replacing McConnell as Senate GOP leader

Sen. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he intends to run to succeed outgoing Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.

This makes him the third candidate to join the race, behind Sens. John Thune and John Cornyn, both of whom already announced their own candidacy earlier this year.

Scott is considered to be the most conservative of all three candidates because of his past willingness to challenge McConnell’s leadership and current willingness to work more closely with House Republicans.

“I have decided to run for Senate Republican leader because I believe now is a moment we need dramatic change,” Scott wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter this week to his fellow Senate Republicans.

“I believe that our voters want us to use this leadership election to make a choice to upend the status quo in Washington. 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,” he added.

Scott’s entrance into the race comes three months after McConnell announced that he’d be stepping down as leader.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter, so I stand before you today, Mr. President and my colleagues, to say this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate,” he said at the time.

A month later, Scott told the media he was “seriously considering” running for McConnell’s job and also traveled to Mar-a-Lago to talk to former President Donald Trump about his plans.

“I talked to him about the fact that I might run for leader, and if I did that, we would have the opportunity together to change the direction of this country for the better,” the senator later told The Palm Beach Post.

Scott previously ran for McConnell’s seat in 2022 but lost.

In his “Dear Colleague” letter, Scott took a few inconspicuous shots at McConnell, at one point indirectly dinging him for all the “backroom deals” he frequently made.

“I think we need to be way more transparent with each other and the American people,” Scott wrote. “There have been far too many backroom deals cut in secret, rarely do things go through the committee process, and it’s accepted practice to not allow amendment votes to trillion-dollar spending bills.”

“We are routinely surprised with legislation and asked to vote on it without having had any input or even time to review it. Rarely do we work in concert with Republicans in the House, and the Senate far too often passes legislation that is supported by 100% of the Democrats, and only a quarter of our Republican Conference,” he added.

In his letter, Scott also mentioned his relationship with Trump, who currently is poised to be America’s 47th president.

“I believe President Trump will win with a mandate for dramatic change, we will have a Republican Senate majority and a bigger Republican advantage in the House,” he wrote. “We will have a historic opportunity to solve our country’s problems. Over the years, the Senate has become the place where change oriented conservative policies come to die, and I believe now is the time to change that.”

“Come January 20, to turn this country around, we will need to work closely with President Trump. I have known President Trump since before either of us ran for any political office. As a Republican leader, I will protect senators’ interests while helping President Trump accomplish his goals. Our country’s success and our Conference’s success will be dependent on President Trump’s success,” he added.

It’s not clear yet how Republicans feel about Scott’s entrance into the race. What’s known for sure is that they were absolutely not feeling Cornyn, the first Republican to announce a run for McConnell’s post.

Vivek Saxena

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