After announcing he will compete for Senate leadership, Rick Scott recalls McConnell's revenge for challenging him in 2022

The Florida senator joined John Thune (R-SD) and John Cornyn (R-TX), who are also seeking to become the next Senate Republican leader.

Rick Scott (R-FL) recently announced his entry into the race to replace Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as Senate Republican leader. It turns out this is not the first time the Florida senator has sought leadership, given that he already tried in 2022 after the midterm elections. On this occasion, just days after announcing his candidacy, he recalled the retaliation he suffered in his first challenge to McConnell.

After the 2022 elections, in which Republicans were left waiting for a ‘Red Wave’ that did not arrive, Scott assured in a private lunch that he would try to compete with McConnell, arguing that he was not satisfied with the status quo.

McConnell’s revenge against Scott

Although he lost the vote against his rival, who obtained 37 votes to his 10, it was far from over there. Scott was shown the exit door of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, one of the most important in the Upper House. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), a vocal critic of McConnell, suffered the same fate as the former Florida governor.

“Well, I got kicked off committee. I got kicked off Commerce. I think, I’ve never done a real study of this, but I think I’ve probably run the biggest company of anybody that’s ever served in the Senate before — 25,000 employees. I’ve done business all my life and I got kicked off of Commerce. I mean, that’s clearly retaliation, no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” Scott recalled in a recent interview with POLITICO after announcing a new candidacy.

He even revealed that he was notified of the decision by text message, which angered him then, but there was still more to come. McConnell reportedly told his donors not to give any more funds to Scott, which, of course, affected his future political funding.

Another senator, who spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity in November 2022 after learning of Scott’s removal from the powerful committee, remarked, “What did he expect?”

Scott’s new run for Senate leadership

I have decided to run for Senate Republican leader because I believe now is the time we need dramatic change. I believe our voters want us to use this leadership election to make a decision that will change the status quo in Washington,” the Florida Republican wrote in a letter circulated Wednesday.

“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 is the candidate for a new leader who contrasts most with McConnell, given that John Thune (R-SD) and John Cornyn (R-TX), now his rivals for the position, have a style more similar to that of the Kentucky Republican.

Thune gave his opinion on the candidacy of his colleague from Florida and assured that “everyone has a chance. If there’s more than one ballot, you have to think about second-ballot votes. And, you know, clearly, you want to get through the first round of voting. And so it’s a dynamic that you just have to adjust for,” he added.

As for Cornyn, he emphasized the possibility of Donald Trump getting involved in the leadership race since there is a concrete possibility that the magnate will have to coexist from the White House with the eventual Republican leader.

“I don’t know whether President Trump’s going to get involved or not. I’ve had personal conversations and meetings with President Trump about this topic. But my experience is this is the ultimate insider race,” said Cornyn, who has represented Texas in the Senate since 2003.