Mitch McConnell was reelected to head the Senate Republican conference on Wednesday, defeating challenger Rick Scott, a fellow member of leadership who chairs the chamber’s GOP campaign arm.
Scott (R-Fla.) launched the long-shot bid on Tuesday, determined to challenge the “status quo” under McConnell after the GOP failed to take control of the Senate. McConnell is now on track to be the longest serving party leader in the chamber’s history.
McConnell prevailed over Scott in a 37-10 vote.
Some Senate Republicans had pushed for delaying the leadership elections, but that vote failed, 16-32, on Wednesday morning, paving the way for McConnell’s reelection. Still, it hasn’t been a pretty week: Senate Republicans spent three hours Tuesday venting about their whiffed midterm cycle, the lack of an agenda, Scott’s perceived mismanagement of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and McConnell’s stewardship of the caucus.
And Wednesday wasn’t much better. As senators called for an audit of the NRSC, Scott attacked the leadership of former campaign arm Chair Todd Young (R-Ind.) for giving “unauthorized and improper bonuses” to staff two years ago.
Republicans hope the quick closure of the leadership races will put the squabbling behind them ahead of the Georgia runoff, which will determine if the Senate remains evenly split next term or if Democrats will gain a seat.