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Rick Scott pursues McConnell's job again, seeks to replace him as Senate GOP leader

The Florida senator, who had already tried to overthrow the Kentucky senator in 2022, assured that "this is the time when we need a dramatic change."

Rick Scott

Cordon Press

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Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced in February that 2023 would be his last year as leader of the Senate Republican Conference. After 16 years, the veteran senator from Kentucky will step aside to allow a new leader to steer an eventual majority in the Senate. Since then, at least two big names have confirmed that they would participate in the vote to succeed McConnell, who was recently joined by Rick Scott (R-FL).

The Florida senator, who had already tried to unseat McConnell after the 2022 midterm elections, will have a second chance to take his position.

"I have decided to run for Senate Republican leader because I believe now is a moment we need dramatic change. I believe that our voters want us to use this leadership election to make a choice to upend the status quo in Washington," Scott 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 new leadership who contrasts most with McConnell, given that , now his rivals for the position, have a style more similar to that of the Kentucky Republican.

Is the second time a charm?

This will not be the first time Scott seeks the GOP leadership in the Senate. After the 2022 elections, in which Republicans were left waiting for a 'Red Wave' that did not arrive, the Florida senator assured in a private lunch that he would try to compete with McConnell, arguing that he was not satisfied with the status quo.

Although he lost the vote by 37 votes to 10, it didn't end there. Months later, McConnell carried out what was described as a political vendetta. He removed Scott from the Finance Committee, one of the most powerful and coveted in the Senate. As reported by The Hill, the Florida senator found out about the decision by text message and did not take it in the best way. A person familiar with the situation described the Florida senator as “furious.”

McConnell also replaced Mike Lee (R-UT), who also criticized him on the occasion. “He kicked me out. He fired Lee,” Scott confirmed moments after the news broke.

Scott recently spoke with Voz Media and analyzed the Biden administration, which he criticized for politicizing the Department of Justice. "Many people are fed up with the Biden Administration's persecution of Republicans (...) The DOJ has basically become a political arm of Joe Biden and that has to change. This is what you read about third world countries," he said.

All Senate Republican leaders

Mitch McConnell (2007-2024)

Bill Frist (2003-2007)

Trent Lott (1996-2023)

Bob Dole (1985-1996)

Howard Baker (1977-1985)

Hugh Scott (1969-1977)

Everett Dicksen (1959-1969)

William Knowland (1953-1959)

Robert Taft (January 1953-July 1953)

Kenneth Wherry (1949-1951)

Wallace White (1944-1949)

Charles McNary (1933-1944)

James Eli Watson (1929-1933)

Charles Curtis (1924-1929)