Several Senate Republicans are pushing for next week's leadership elections to be delayed as dissatisfaction grows with current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., after the GOP's disappointing midterm election results.
In a letter obtained by Politico, Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rick Scott, R-Fla., pressed colleagues to sign off on postponing the party's leadership elections, which are for now scheduled for Wednesday morning.
These three join several other GOP senators who are calling for the leadership elections to be delayed, including Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
Hawley and Eric Schmitt, who just was elected to Missouri's other Senate seat, have publicly come out about replacing McConnell.
Scott, the leader of the powerful National Republican Senatorial Committee, has often had his differences with McConnell. He had said in a video he intended to challenge McConnell for the leadership spot, but Friday backed out as questions continue whether Republicans will take majority control of the Senate.
McConnell has been criticized for refusing to give campaign funds for candidates who would not pledge to elect him as the party's leader in the next Senate.
McConnell pulled funding from such candidates as Blake Masters in Arizona, who was outspent by 5-to-1 by incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly, who was declared the winner in the race Friday.
McConnell's Senate campaign arm also pulled money from New Hampshire candidate Don Bolduc in the final weeks of the race, which was won by incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
With Kelly's victory in Arizona, the race for party control of the Senate hinges on the final outcome of the race in Nevada between GOP candidate Adam Laxalt and incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., which is within hundreds of votes and too close to call, and on a runoff election in Georgia between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Republican Herschel Walker.
"We are all disappointed that a red wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not," the senators said in the letter.
"We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024."
Unless a challenge is successful, the Senate GOP leadership slate is expected to keep McConnell as leader, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., as whip, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., as conference chair, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa as policy committee chair, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., as conference vice chair, and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., as chair of the Senate Republicans' campaign arm.
Johnson and Lee, meanwhile, have also often disagreed with how McConnell manages the Senate Republicans. Both senators won reelection, and Johnson received $25 million from the Senate Leadership Fund.
Rubio, speaking out against the leadership election being held now, said the party must make sure people who want to lead it are "genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities and values of the working Americans."
Cruz, meanwhile, said it "makes no sense" to have the elections before the Warnock-Walker runoff is decided.
David McIntosh, a former congressman and leader of the conservative Club for Growth, said he does not anticipate a change in leadership, but said McConnell's power as leader could be diminished.
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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