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Blaze News investigates: Replacing McConnell: The race to become the next Senate Republican leader
Photo (left): Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Photo (center): Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Photo (right): Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Blaze News investigates: Replacing McConnell: The race to become the next Senate Republican leader

Sens. Rick Scott, John Cornyn, and John Thune are seeking to succeed McConnell.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has served as either Senate minority or majority leader since 2007, announced earlier this year that his current term as Senate Republican leader will be his last.

So far, three GOP senators have indicated that they would like to take on the role: John Cornyn of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, and Rick Scott of Florida.

"The Johns have all of the backing traditionally within the GOP caucus, but Rick Scott is an interesting guy," Blaze Media senior politics editor and D.C. correspondent Christopher Bedford told Blaze News, noting that Scott is "very wealthy independently and doesn't need the job of senator and is extremely frustrated with the pace of Washington."

Scott, who served as Florida governor for eight years before entering the Senate in 2019, unsuccessfully challenged McConnell for the Senate Republican leader post in 2022 but lost in a 37-10 vote.

'These old establishment Republicans have had their day.'

Scott has suggested that there are "two Republican Parties in America."

"One is in Washington. It's a tired, old, Republican party led by establishment insiders. It is out of touch, not only with our problems but with our people. It cuts deals with Chuck Schumer. It has secret votes and secret agendas. It's the 'go along to get along' crowd," Scott said, according to a press release.

"There is another Republican Party, a real Republican Party outside of Washington," he declared. "It's the one that's tired of being sold out, tired of being thrown under the bus, tired of the Washington status quo. It's the one that supports Donald Trump, instead of undermining him all the time. These old establishment Republicans have had their day. It's time for a change and a fresh, new approach. We can fix all of our country's problems. I'm confident about that. But first, we Republicans need to clean up our own house in Washington. More of the same won't cut it. That's why I am running for reelection to the U.S. Senate and for Republican Leader."

'Rand Paul would be incredible, but we can't have nice things.'

While Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has not announced a bid for the Senate GOP leader role, back in March he tweeted, "Thousands of people have been asking if I'd run for Senate leadership..."

Paul ran a poll on X asking, "Who would you like to be the next Senate leader?" The poll offered three choices: Paul, Thune, and Cornyn — and Paul earned over 96% of the more than 178,000 votes.

"John Cornyn and John Thune are complete corporatist RINO pukes that are basically younger, less effective, and far less shrewd versions of McConnell," BlazeTV host Steve Deace asserted in a statement to Blaze News.

"They represent all the things about McConnell you hated, and none of the few things you liked. Scott has largely been an empty suit as a Senator thus far, but I am confident he would literally do anything a President Trump wanted so we could live with that. Now, if there's no President Trump after this election, then Scott isn't much better than the aforementioned Johns. Rand Paul would be incredible, but we can't have nice things," Deace added.

Cornyn, who has been serving in the Senate for more than two decades, said in a statement that the institution is "broken."

"I am asking my Republican colleagues to give me the opportunity to succeed Leader McConnell," Cornyn said in the statement. "I believe the Senate is broken — that is not news to anyone. The good news is that it can be fixed, and I intend to play a major role in fixing it. From experience, I have learned what works in the Senate and what does not, and I am confident Senate Republicans can restore our institution to the essential role it serves in our constitutional republic."

"We will improve communication, increase transparency, and ensure inclusion of every Member’s expertise and opinion. We will restore the important role of Senate committees and reestablish the regular appropriations process, rather than lurch from one crisis to another. And we will return power back to our members; there will be no more backroom deals or forced votes on bills without adequate time for review, debate, and amendment," Cornyn noted.

Cornyn served as Senate Republican Whip prior to Thune, who currently serves in that role.

Thune, who has served as a senator for more than 19 years, has indicated that he hopes to become Senate Republican leader.

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Alex Nitzberg

Alex Nitzberg

Alex Nitzberg is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@alexnitzberg →