Blake Masters blames McConnell for election woes as GOP infighting begins
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters has slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after an expected midterm “red wave” failed to materialize.
Masters, who was defeated by Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona, is one of several Republicans who have now appeared to question McConnell ahead of leadership elections scheduled for Wednesday after the midterm elections.
The race for control of the Senate is much tighter than polls had indicated, with Democrats and Republicans currently tied with 49 seats each. If Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto can win in her close race in Nevada, Democrats will have the seats needed to form a majority with the casting vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
If Cortez Masto is defeated, Senate control will be decided in Georgia’s runoff election, where the margins are expected to be extremely close after no candidate garnered 50% support on Tuesday.
“The People Who Control the Purse Strings, The Senate Leadership Fund, Mitch McConnell – McConnell decided to spend millions of dollars attacking a fellow Republican in Alaska instead of helping me defeat Senator Mark Kelly “, Masters told Fox News on Friday before his loss.
“If he had chosen to spend the money in Arizona, this race would be over and we would be celebrating a majority in the Senate right now,” he said. “And so my message to the American people, my message to my Republican senators, hopefully my future colleagues, let’s not vote for Mitch McConnell for leadership. He doesn’t deserve to be the majority leader or the leader of the minority.”
The Senator Leadership Fund is a McConnell-aligned super PAC that canceled ad bookings worth about $8 million in Arizona between Sept. 6 and Oct. 3 and cut an additional $9.6 million from ad bookings. ad purchases in the race scheduled for October 4 to November 8.
The Alaska Republican Party voted last month to censor McConnell for supporting ads criticizing Trump-backed U.S. Senate nominee Kelly Tshibaka, who is running against Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski via the ballot-by-choice system of the state.
A number of Republican senators, including Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Marco Rubio, have called for the vote to be postponed, but the GOP leadership currently plans to move forward.
“It makes no sense for the Senate to hold leadership elections before the GA runoff,” Cruz tweeted on Friday. “We don’t know yet if we will have a majority and Herschel Walker deserves to have a say in our leadership. Above all, we need to hear a specific plan for the next 2 years from any leadership candidate.”
He was referring to the Senate runoff in Georgia on Dec. 6 where Republican Herschel Walker will face Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Cruz tweeted on Saturday that not delaying the leadership vote would be “indefensible.”
Senators Ron Johnson, Mike Lee and Rick Scott reportedly circulated a letter also calling for a postponement of Wednesday’s election.
“We are all disappointed that a red wave did not materialize, and there are several reasons why it did not happen,” the letter reads, according to a copy obtained by Policy. “We need to have serious discussions within our conference about why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024.”
Ahead of the midterms, McConnell was widely expected to be reelected as the leader of Senate Republicans and he could still become majority leader as the nation awaits the results of the Nevada and Georgia races, but signs of struggles GOP intestines seem numerous.
Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized McConnell and called for his replacement as leader or even his removal. He returned to that criticism in posts overnight on his Truth Social platform.
Trump alleged without evidence that the fraud was affecting the Nevada and Arizona elections and said: “Mitch McConnell, the broken Republican Senate leader, is not doing anything about it. He’s too busy spending large sums of money. money for bad senator Lisa M from Alaska, when Kelly S is MUCH better. I should have fought and stopped stealing in 2020.”
Nonetheless, Trump also faced criticism for Republican underperformance at the midpoint.
Several conservative outlets took aim at Trump, while Virginia GOP Lt. Governor Winsome Sears sparked controversy when she called the former president a “responsibility.”
Even some of Trump’s allies have urged him to delay a Nov. 15 announcement that should be confirmation of his intention to run for president again in 2024.
The final results of the midterm elections are yet to be known and at this point either party could find themselves in control of the Senate, but next week promises to be a major one for the GOP.
Newsweek contacted McConnell’s team for comment.
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