This is interesting! Oz isn’t the only Republican would-be senator unwilling to declare allegiance to McConnell if the Republicans gain control of the Senate in the midterm elections.
If Republicans win the Senate majority, can McConnell get the votes to be elected to lead them?
This is, yes, putting the cart in front of the horse. At this point, the battle for control of the Senate is seen as a blast, with Democrats seen as having the upper hand in funding and quality of candidates. And if the likes of Oz, Masters and Vance don’t go to the Senate, it doesn’t really matter if they voted for McConnell as leader.
But if these candidates ultimately win, they’ll be forced to confront their past statements about McConnell.
Of course, there is Donald Trump. The former president has made no secret of his dislike of McConnell and has openly campaigned for other Republicans to succeed him as leader.
“Unfortunately, many of those responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are trying to stop them from winning a majority this time around by screwing the Republican nominee,” Scott wrote. “This is an act of astonishing cowardice and, ultimately, an act of treason against a conservative cause.”
My strong feeling is that for all the talk about differences with McConnell, the likes of Oz, Masters and Vance will find a way to vote for him as majority leader if they face the opportunity in early 2023. Deafness. Why? There are two main reasons.
2) It’s not clear if there are other options. Scott seems far more focused on running for president than on being a Republican Senate Majority Leader. And other Republican senators with voters in Congress, such as South Dakota’s John Thune, are not going to challenge McConnell.
So all this could be just a political stance after all. But McConnell, hitherto a purposeful and cautious political tactician, probably won’t take the chance.