Republican Senate dispute spills over into Georgia runoff

Senate Minority Leader allies Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) continue to swap blame for the party’s failure to win the Senate majority in the Midterms election, with the conflict now spilling over into the Georgia Republican runoff.

Mr. McConnell on Wednesday slammed a broad bid from Mr. Scott to replace him as Senate top Republican, but fallout remains ahead of the December 6 runoff between ex-football star Herschel Walker and Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. Democrats in the new Senate will retain their majority, which sits at 50-49 before the runoff, because Vice President Kamala Harris has a tied vote.

Earlier this week, Steven Law, who heads the McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund, accused Mr. Scott’s National Republican Senatorial Committee of sending fraudulent donation emails that received 99% of donations to the committee and only 1% to Walker campaign. “Good bodies raise enough not to have to steal from their candidates.” tweeted Mr. LawPresident of the Senate Leadership Fund.

Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) has been criticized for his leadership of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


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Cliff Owen/Zuma Press

NRSC spokesman Chris Hartline said the group is raising money for Mr Walker’s campaign and a joint fundraising committee that will largely benefit Mr Walker as well as the NRSC “all going to Georgia”.

Curt Anderson, an advisor to Mr. Scott, accused the SLF of sitting on the sidelines while a PAC run by allies of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., NY) aired television advertisements attacking Mr. Walker. A few hours later, Mr. Law replied to Mr. Anderson via Twitter with a link to a message announcing a $14.2 million ad purchase from SLF in Georgia. He ridiculed the size of NRSC’s own ad reservation of about $760,000 in the state.

“But don’t worry, little buddy – we’re used to covering for you.” Mr. Law tweeted Mr. Anderson on Tuesday.

“Hahaha. Thank you so much. so nice of you…if we win you can have the credit, if we lose you can blame others…like when you lost the Senate in 2020.” Mr. Anderson tweeted back.

Some senators are calling for the NRSC to be audited. Mr Anderson said reviewing the NRSC is routine but the SLF should also be reviewed.

“The proof is in the numbers. Did they do their job? The answer is no,” said Josh Holmes, Republican strategist and former Mr. McConnell’s chief of staff. Mr. Holmes compared the $120 million the previous NRSC spent on independent spending to promote the 2020 Senate nominees to the $34 million the NRSC has spent this election cycle.

Mr. Hartline, the NRSC spokesman, said the committee’s strategy is to spend less on independent spend and more on coordinated and hybrid ads with the campaigns, totaling about $74.4 million across broadcast and digital media .

He said Mr. Holmes and other McConnell advisers – whom he dubbed “McBros” – were trying to evade responsibility for the Senate loss.

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock (left) and Republican Herschel Walker face a December 6 runoff in the Georgia Senate race.


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/Associated Press

“Josh and the McBros have spent the last few months claiming that if we won, SLF would be solely responsible. We are not. And now, instead of helping Herschel Walker win (which they’ve undermined from the start), they spend all their time blaming everyone else,” said Mr. Hartline. “Fine. It’s what this crowd is doing to make sure they’re still getting paid cycle after cycle whether we win or lose.

Sometimes things just don’t go your way, Mr. Hartline said.

“If DC consultants want to throw lies to avoid any kind of introspection, fine,” he said. “We will focus on winning in Georgia. We’re glad they’re joining us in this fight and we’re committed to doing everything in our power to help Herschel win.”

Mr. Scott, Mr. Holmes, replied, “is so eager to brush aside his abject failure in every possible facet of the 2022 campaign that he wants a promotion,” he said, referring to Mr. Scott’s failed efforts to find Mr .to challenge McConnell as Senate leader. “It’s one of the wildest moves I’ve seen in twenty years of politics.”

Mr. Anderson reiterated his claim that the Senate Leadership Fund was “sleeping at the counter” when the runoff campaign began, but he welcomed the group’s new ads, which were broadcast nationally on Friday. SLF is also funding a $2 million fundraiser being run by Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign team.

“Luckily they woke up and started promoting [Friday] So we’re all going to be happy and win this thing,” he said.

write to Lindsay Wise at [email protected]

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