Mitch McConnell Beats Rick Scott in Republican Senate Leadership Fight
Mitch McConnell’s political gamble in the battle for Senate control in Kentucky has gone down spectacularly. On Tuesday evening, the Senate majority leader, who had previously seemed immune to pressure from his Republican colleagues, conceded defeat in his battle with Gov. Scott.
As a result, Mitch McConnell now faces a politically painful choice between giving up his leadership role and leaving behind his friend and ally, Mitch McConnell.
“I am sorry that my colleagues in Kentucky are not listening to the people of Kentucky,” McConnell said in the wake of the election results. “I will not sacrifice our best interest for the sake of Mitch McConnell’s ego.”
But that’s not exactly what McConnell said a few months ago when asked what it would take to convince his friends in their Kentucky home turf to back him. McConnell said they could find a way to defeat Scott simply by supporting a Republican in the next election cycle.
“I’m going to be able to tell them that we have done all the things we said we were going to do,” McConnell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The only thing that the people of Kentucky don’t want in a senator who is willing to fight for Kentucky is a senator who is not willing to fight for Kentucky.”
There are plenty of questions that remain unanswered as the dust from the Kentucky Senate race settled. So far, the most obvious question is McConnell’s political calculation. McConnell had insisted all along that he would be un breakable—that he’d be able to deliver a win on his terms. Perhaps that was the only option he had. The defeat means that the next Democratic candidate to run for the nomination will be forced to run on the notion that McConnell failed to deliver. If he’s the nominee, it won’t be easy to avoid a direct challenge.
McConnell also faces other questions on the campaign trail. There is an ongoing debate on Capitol Hill about whether McConnell had a hand in pressuring the candidate who ultimately