Updated Nov 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

McConnell re-elected as Senate GOP leader

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell flanked by other Senate GOP leaders.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders. Photo: Elizabeth Frantz for The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will continue to lead the Senate GOP after gaining enough votes from his Republican colleagues to beat back a challenge by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the outgoing chair of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, made less than 24 hours ago, per McConnell's spokesperson.

Why it matters: It's still McConnell's conference, even as the Republican Party continues to splinter following an underwhelming showing in last week's midterms elections.

Driving the news: McConnell won 37 votes to Scott's 10, according to a person in the room. One senator voted present.

  • It was the first time McConnell had a leadership challenger in 15 years.
  • Prior to the vote, the two had been engaged in a public tit-for-tat over who was responsible for last Tuesday's election results. McConnell's resounding win came after conservatives had pushed to delay the elections until after the Georgia Senate runoff next month.
  • A motion to delay the votes, introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), failed after 16 senators voted for it and 32 voted against it.

What Scott's saying: "Although the results of today’s elections weren’t what we hoped for, this is far from the end of our fight to Make Washington Work," he said in a statement following the vote.

The backdrop: Scott's decision earlier this year to release a multipoint Republican agenda that featured new taxes infuriated McConnell, who swiftly publicly rejected it. The plan ultimately provided extensive attack fodder that President Biden leveraged in support of his party.

Details: The conference also elected other members to top leadership posts.

  • Sen. John Thune of South Dakota was reelected as minority whip.
  • Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was reelected as conference chair.
  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia was elected vice conference chair.
  • Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa was elected policy chair.
  • Sen. Steve Daines of Montana was elected to replace Scott as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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