Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) urged Senate Republicans to proceed with their leadership elections despite reported unrest within the party.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Cotton pointed out that no senator has stepped up to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for leadership, so the caucus should move forward with the elections and focus on the upcoming runoff in the Georgia Senate race. Cotton’s comments come as multiple Republican senators upset with McConnell’s performance are calling for new leadership and a delayed vote.
“Well, I don’t see why we would delay the election, since all five or six of our leadership elections are uncontested,” said Cotton. “You know, the great wrestling champion Ric Flair used to say, ‘To be the man, you got to beat the man.’ And so far, no one’s had the nerve to step forward and challenge Senator McConnell. So, I support Senator McConnell. I support the other slate of candidates for our leadership elections. I think it’s better that we move forward with these elections, so we can focus again on the Georgia runoff.”
A number of Republicans are pushing to delay the leadership elections. Some senators also expressed concern over the conference’s agenda and whether the party is working in the best interests of Americans.
“We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024,” Senators Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rick Scott wrote in a letter to the Senate GOP. “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. It is certainly not the way leadership elections should be conducted in the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
“The Senate GOP leadership vote next week should be postponed,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted Friday. “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.”
“Exactly right,” Missouri GOP Senator Josh Hawley replied to Rubio. “I don’t know why Senate GOP would hold a leadership vote for the next Congress before this election is finished. We have a runoff in #GASenate – are they saying that doesn’t matter? Don’t disenfranchise @HerschelWalker.”