GOP senators want leader vote postponed with balance of power in limbo

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GOP senators want leader vote postponed with balance of power in limbo

WASHINGTON — Several GOP senators are pushing their counterparts to delay next week’s expected vote on who will make up the party’s leadership in the upper chamber of Congress, as a trio of uncalled races leave the electoral map unsettled.

“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rick Scott of Florida wrote in a letter to their colleagues, according to Politico. “We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024.”

As of Friday afternoon, control of the Senate had not yet been determined as final election results continued trickling in from Arizona and Nevada, while Georgia voters faced a runoff Dec. 6 after neither Republican Herschel Walker nor Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock reached the required 50% threshold in the Peach State.

As a result, Johnson, Lee and Scott proposed waiting to decide on GOP leadership until all votes are tallied.

Senator Rick Scott
Sen. Rick Scott speaks during a news conference in DC on September 7.
Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Holding leadership elections without hearing from the candidates as to how they will perform their leadership duties and before we know whether we will be in the majority or even who all our members are violates the most basic principles of a democratic process,” the senators wrote. “It is certainly not the way leadership elections should be conducted in the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Newly re-elected Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also called for the vote to be delayed in a Friday tweet.

“First we need to make sure that those who want to lead us are genuinely committed to fighting for the priorities & values of the working Americans (of every background) who gave us big wins in states like #Florida,” Rubio said.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) shared Rubio’s tweet, adding that his colleague was “exactly right.”

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks during a televised debate on October 17 in Orem, Utah.
Rick Bowmer/AP

“I don’t know why Senate GOP would hold a leadership vote for the next Congress before this election is finished,” Hawley wrote. “We have a runoff in #GASenate – are they saying that doesn’t matter? Don’t disenfranchise @HerschelWalker.”

Currently the Senate has 49 Republicans and 48 Democrats, with the GOP needing to win two of the outstanding races to regain the majority after two years out of power.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been expected to serve another two-year term as head of the conference. It was not immediately clear whether he would face any challenger.

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