With Democrats poised to retain control of the U.S. Senate regardless of the outcome of Georgia’s runoff election, a number of prominent Republicans are openly calling for new party leadership in the chamber.
At the very least, multiple Republican senators want to postpone a scheduled leadership vote until after Sen. Rafael Warnock (D-GA) and GOP rival Herschel Walker square off again in next month’s runoff.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is among the latest to share his belief that the vote — set for Wednesday — should be delayed.
In a tweet on Sunday, he expressed solidarity with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who previously asserted that Walker deserves “a say in our leadership” and the Republican Party should be able to expect a leader with a “specific plan” for the upcoming legislative session.
In light of #GASen runoff, it would be appropriate to delay Senate leadership elections until we know who is in the Senate Republican Conference.
I totally agree with Senator @TedCruz that to do otherwise would be disrespectful to @HerschelWalker.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 14, 2022
“All Republicans should be focused on winning in Georgia and trying to understand the midterm elections before Senate leadership elections or moving on to the 2024 presidential race,” Graham added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has faced widespread backlash in light of the Republican Party’s lackluster performance in Senate races nationwide.
Arizona Republican Blake Masters blamed McConnell for making his campaign against incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) even harder.
“Had he chosen to spend money in Arizona, this race would be over and we’d be celebrating a Senate Majority right now,” Masters said shortly after the election. “And so my message to the people of America, my message to actually my, the Republican senators, hopefully, my future colleagues, let’s not vote Mitch McConnell into leadership. He doesn’t deserve to be majority leader or minority leader.”
Cruz clearly agrees with that assessment, asserting in a recent segment of his podcast that McConnell’s abandonment of Masters “was indefensible.”
The Texas Republican went on to speculate that the GOP leader “would rather be a leader than have a Republican majority” and chose to pull money out of the Arizona race because Masters indicated that he would vote against McConnell.
Despite the intraparty bickering, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is among those who do not believe McConnell’s grip on power is slipping.
“The great wrestling champion Ric Flair used to say, ‘To be the man, you got to beat the man.’” Cotton recently explained. “And so far, no one has had the nerve to step forward and challenge Sen. McConnell.”