Senate allies of House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are rallying to prevent postponing a scheduled vote on leadership for the next session, The Hill reports.
Opponents of the Kentucky Republican put at least partial blame on him for the GOP's failure to take over the Senate in last week's midterm elections. The party had been predicting a "red wave," if not an outright "red tsunami" takeover of both houses of Congress, thereby stifling much of President Joe Biden's and the Democrats' agenda over the next two years.
Instead, Democrats have won 50 of 49 contests yet decided, with the Georgia runoff election to determine whether they'll have a 51-49 advantage or the next two years will continue 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie for Democrats as she has the past two years.
In a sign that McConnell is still in control, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott of Florida, a key McConnell critic, tried to stop Wednesday's leadership vote but was unable to get other members of the Senate Republican leadership team on board, The Hill reported.
Scott did not indicate that he planned to challenge McConnell for his position, The Hill said, and Republican senators are set to discuss what caused the failure at a Tuesday luncheon.
Senior Republicans place blame on former President Donald Trump, saying his actions, including backing what they call weak candidates, fired up Democrats to vote despite President Joe Biden's low approval numbers.
"It’s never any one thing, but I think it’s pretty clear that we didn’t perform well among independent voters, which in a lot of those states that were competitive was a big share of the electorate. And I think that it’s clear that running on relitigating the 2020 election is not a winning strategy" Senate Republican Whip John Thune told The Hill. The South Dakota senator opposes delaying the leadership election.
“We need to move forward,” Thune said, saying McConnell will be reelected leader.
Former Whip John Cornyn of Texas, who is an adviser to the leadership team, opposes postponing the election as well.
"I don’t know why we would delay an uncontested race. I don’t know what purpose that would serve, and I think it’s important for us to figure out how to come together and remove the distractions to winning the runoff in Georgia,” he said.
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