MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sen. Rick Scott of Florida predicts Republicans will win back the Senate majority in next week’s midterm elections and control “52-plus” seats in the next Congress.
Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), forecast in an interview Monday in New Hampshire with Fox News that the GOP will successfully hold onto all 21 seats they’re defending in the midterm elections – including in the key battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
And pointing to Democratic-controlled seats the NRSC has been heavily targeting for nearly two years, Scott said, “I think we clearly pick up Georgia. We clearly pick up Nevada and I think we have a really good chance here in New Hampshire.”
Scott also said he was “surprised” that the top super PAC backing Senate Republican incumbents and candidates recently pulled the plug on nearly $6 million in ad spending in New Hampshire in the closing weeks of the campaign.
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The move a week and a half ago by the Senate Leadership Fund, which is aligned with longtime Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was a setback for Republican Senate nominee and retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc, who’s challenging former governor and first-term Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in a race that’s among a handful across the country that will likely determine if the GOP wins back the Senate majority in the midterms.
Senate Leadership Fund president Steven Law said at the time that “as the cycle comes to a close, we are shifting resources to where they can be most effective to achieve our ultimate goal: winning the majority.”
But days after the move, new polls indicated Bolduc gaining ground on Hassan, and last week the NRSC, which is the Senate GOP’s re-election arm, reinvested roughly $1 million to run an ad jointly financed with the Bolduc campaign.
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“I was surprised. I mean the race is basically close and it was within two points when they did it, so it surprised me,” Scott said regarding the move by the Senate Leadership Fund to drop out of New Hampshire.
Scott, who sat down with Fox News the morning after headlining a town hall meeting with Bolduc in Atkinson, New Hampshire, pledged that the NRSC is “gonna do everything we can” in the New Hampshire Senate showdown. “I think he has a real shot at winning here,” Scott said. And he also pointed to moves over the past week by two pro-Republican super PAC separate from the Senate Leadership Fund that made six- and seven-figure investments in Bolduc.
Asked what is the sleeper Senate race this cycle that the NRSC’s keeping their eyes on, Scott looked to Democrat-dominated Washington state, where GOP Senate nominee and first-time candidate Tiffany Smiley is challenging longtime Democratic Sen. Patty Murray
“She’s got a real shot. And she’s a great candidate,” Scott said of Smiley, a military wife, nurse and veterans rights advocate.
With eight days to go until Election Day, Scott looked to the Republican turnout machine.
“We’ve got a big get out the vote effort,” he emphasized. “I think we’ve touched now probably two million doors with our Hispanic Outreach Operation Vamos. So right now, all of our new investments are going into get out the vote.”
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For months, Scott and McConnell have butted heads over GOP efforts in the midterms. Scott earlier this year released a policy plan outlining what Republicans should do if they won back the majority, which was at odds with McConnell’s position not to advertise what the GOP would do if they reclaimed control of the chamber. The two clashed more recently over McConnell’s comments that “candidate quality” was compromising Republicans’ odds of winning back the majority.
Two months ago, in an op-ed published in the Washington Examiner, Scott called that “an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause.”
McConnell, who’s running to maintain his position as Senate GOP leader, touted earlier this month that he has the votes to keep his leadership role, even after taking incoming fire for nearly two years from former President Donald Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party.
But Scott sounded non-committal when asked by Fox News if he would back McConnell as Senate Republican leader.
“We’ll see if anybody runs and see if he wants to continue to do it,” Scott answered.
Political pundits view Scott, a former two-term Florida governor and multimillionaire businessman, as a potential 2024 Republican presidential contender. And the NRSC chair has stoked speculation with multiple visits this cycle to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote in the Republican presidential nominating calendar. Scott’s latest stop in Iowa came last week, followed by the Sunday-Monday swing through New Hampshire.
But Scott, who is up for re-election to his Senate seat in 2024, reiterated, “I plan on running for the Senate for the great state of Florida.”
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