Last Updated on November 16, 2022
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the McConnell-influenced Senate Leadership Fund pulled close to $10 million in ads supporting the Blake Masters Senate campaign in Arizona. Masters — who was heavily outspent in the race — conceded after coming up just short against Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly.
“Abandoning Blake Masters was indefensible,” Cruz said during an episode of his podcast, “Verdict,” on Monday. “Because Masters said he would vote against Mitch McConnell,” the Texas senator added, referencing debate comments from Masters in which he said he would support either Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) or Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) for Senate GOP leader if elected.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC affiliated with McConnell, actually made its decision to pull out of the race a month before Masters said he would not back him for leader. The PAC instead opted to divert the funds to J.D. Vance’s now successful Senate campaign in Ohio, a vital race but one that always appeared winnable for the GOP as opposed to the razor-close Arizona race.
The longtime Senate GOP leader complained about poor “candidate quality” in explaining his spending decisions at the time, going so far as to downplay the Republican Party’s chances of taking the U.S. Senate. “Senate races are just different. They’re statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell told reporters this past August.
“Mitch would rather be leader than have a Republican majority. If there’s a Republican who can win who’s not going to support Mitch, the truth of the matter is he’d rather the Democrat win,” Senator Cruz said of McConnell.
Cruz recently joined a number of his Senate colleagues in calling for a delay in leadership votes until after the Senate Georgia run-off between Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. “Tomorrow, I will offer a motion to delay the Republican Senate leadership elections until AFTER the Georgia runoffs so we know who will be in our conference,” Cruz wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. “We owe this to the American people.”
Tomorrow, I will offer a motion to delay the Republican Senate leadership elections until AFTER the Georgia runoffs so we know who will be in our conference.
We owe this to the American people. 1/x
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 16, 2022
Other GOP Senators who have called for a challenge to McConnell’s leadership include Josh Hawley (MO), Marco Rubio (FL), Mike Lee (UT) and Ron Johnson (WI).
“Washington Republicanism lost big Tuesday night,” Hawley wrote in a tweet last week. “When your ‘agenda’ is cave to Big Pharma on insulin, cave to Schumer on gun control & Green New Deal (‘infrastructure’), and tease changes to Social Security and Medicare, you lose.”
Dissatisfied senators reportedly sent a letter to McConnell that calls for “serious discussions” about why there was no “Red Wave.”
“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not. We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024,” the letter states, according to Politico.
Despite the mounting challenge, McConnell has stated that he already has enough votes and is not worried. When asked by reporters Tuesday if he had enough votes, he replied with “of course.”