The Mitch is back.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will remain in that post for another two years after he turned back a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), as GOP recriminations rolled on over their lackluster midterm results.
McConnell, 80, had the support of 37 senators, while Scott got 10 votes and one senator abstained, CNN reported, citing two members of the GOP conference.
The Kentuckian’s victory puts him on track to become the longest-serving Senate party leader, surpassing the 16 years Montana Democrat Mike Mansfield led his party from 1961 to 1977. McConnell has led the Senate GOP since 2007.
The vote took place against the backdrop of Republican discontent over their failure to regain the Senate in last week’s midterm elections — despite public disapproval of President Biden’s handling of the economy amid the highest inflation in four decades.
The 69-year-old Scott, a former Florida governor, insisted to his colleagues it was time for a change, writing in his candidate letter: “If you simply want to stick with the status quo, don’t vote for me.”
However, Scott came under fire over his two-year tenure running the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, which spent more than $235 million, failed to flip a single seat, and lost the open Pennsylvania seat held by the retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.
In response to calls for an audit of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott claimed Wednesday he had learned that committee staffers had been paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars in unauthorized and improper bonuses” during the previous election cycle, under the chairmanship of Sen. Todd Young of Indiana.
“This is what children do when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar,” former NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin told Politico in response. “They lash out. Obviously this is crazy and we welcome a full audit.”