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Rick Scott’s “Rocky” First Week Marked By Growing Republican Fears That New NRSC Chair “Has Dug The Party A Hole”

Scott Forced To Spend First Days Of New Job Defending His Objection Vote, Fending Off “Calls For His Resignation,” and Attempting To Quiet Republican Anger And Fears

Embattled Senator Rick Scott’s first days on the job have not gone according to plan, leading to what is likely the worst first week of any party campaign committee chair in recent history –– a major liability for Republicans as the party looks to recuperate from losing their Senate majority for the first time since 2014.

The new NRSC chair has had to spend his first days in the role explaining his indefensible vote to object to certifying Electoral College results and overturn the will of American voters, fending off “calls for his resignation,” and attempting to quiet growing Republican fears and anger. Scott faced swift backlash and scrutiny over running the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, and Republicans are already privately worried that Scott “has dug the party a hole for the 2022 midterms.”

Scott’s decision to object to Pennsylvania’s election results and perpetuate the lies about election fraud that led to the violent insurrection at the Capitol has led to “backlash among some donors” as lobbyists and business executives are expressing concerns about donating to the NRSC with Scott at the helm. Now, “Republican strategists are nervous about the possible impact on campaign funding,” and a growing number of Washington Republicans are worried that Scott will “find it highly difficult to raise money.” One GOP operative admitted: “I would be incredibly concerned about this, if it was my lane.” Scott for his part is still defending President Trump, refusing to say that the president bears any responsibility for inciting last week’s deadly mob attack on the Capitol, and has doubled down on his objection vote.

“Rick Scott’s first week at the NRSC has been an unmitigated disaster, and these problems aren’t going away,” said DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss. “This is creating an untenable dilemma for Republicans to allow a self-interested senator who objected to the Electoral College certification after the violent insurrection at the Capitol to run their campaign arm.”

Take a look at Senator Rick Scott’s brutal first week as NRSC Chair:

POLITICO: Rick Scott’s rocky start atop GOP Senate campaign arm

  • Sen. Rick Scott has been chair of the Senate GOP’s campaign committee for all of one week, and some Republicans are already concerned that Scott has dug the party a hole for the 2022 midterms.
  • Scott officially took over the National Republican Senatorial Committee after the GOP’s two losses in Georgia gave Democrats control of a 50-50 Senate. Scott faced swift backlash from Democrats and private concern among Republicans over his vote against certifying Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes last week after the deadly riot at the Capitol.
  • As business leaders pull back from the GOP after the insurrection, some donors and operatives in the party have concerns that Scott’s vote could be an issue for Republicans going into the 2022 Senate cycle, as they seek to win back the chamber after losing their six-year majority.
  • Instead, some Republicans have fretted privately that Scott’s potential 2024 presidential ambitions could run cross-wise with the effort to retake the majority. 

Roll Call: Rick Scott confident he can lead NRSC after Electoral College vote

  • Sen. Rick Scott said Wednesday he can still effectively lead the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, even as Republicans in Congress remain divided and a growing number of companies pledge not to donate to lawmakers who voted against certifying two states’ Electoral College votes.
  • The votes have prompted backlash from donors and other members of the party after a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol, fueled by the president’s unfounded claims of election fraud. 

HuffPost: Republicans’ Corporate Money Problem Is Getting Worse By The Day

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plays a major role in raising money for the NRCC and CLF and Florida Sen. Rick Scott is the chair of the NRSC. Both men voted to overturn the results of the election.
  • Republican strategists are nervous about the possible impact on campaign funding, especially on the finances of the NRSC and NRCC, which will lead the GOP’s charge to win back Congress in 2022. 

Washington Post’s The Daily 202: GOP looks to win back Senate in 2022, as new NRSC chairman defends vote to reject Pa. results

  • Scott, 68, takes the helm of the powerful party committee amid Republican divisions over the post-Trump future and, more pressingly, intense blowback from the business community and other elites over his vote last week to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania. Scott was one of eight GOP senators, and 139 House members, to support at least one objection to counting Biden’s certified votes. Many people blame lawmakers in this group for reinforcing the false belief among a wide swath of Republicans voters that the November election was stolen from Trump.

McClatchy: Rick Scott’s Electoral College vote could hinder him in new Senate GOP leadership role

  • Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott spent the last 24 hours facing calls for his resignation from a job he had yet to start.
  • He was elected to lead the NRSC in November without opposition, a position that primarily involves cultivating relationships with donors. But before Scott could assume the job, Republicans lost their Senate majority after losing two runoff elections in Georgia and saw the U.S. Capitol invaded by violent supporters of President Donald Trump.

Orlando Sentinel: Scott takes over GOP Senate fundraising as corporations pull plug on contributions

  • Many major U.S. corporations are halting contributions to all congressional Republicans who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, putting Florida Sen. Rick Scott in a potentially tough spot.

New York Times: A number of Republican lawmakers and aides were worried that Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who is taking over the party’s Senate campaign arm, would find it highly difficult to raise money with corporate America moving to freeze out Republicans who refused to certify the Electoral College. Americans for Prosperity and its political action committee, funded by the influential conservative Koch network, will evaluate future support of politicians based on their actions last week, its chief executive told The Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal: In the Senate, where Republicans will try to win back the majority in the next election, some Republican lobbyists and business executives said they are worried about facing backlash if they steer company PAC donations to the GOP’s campaign committee, which is run by Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.), who objected to the certification of Mr. Biden’s election. 

POLITICO: “I would be incredibly concerned about this, if it was my lane,” said a Republican operative with experience fundraising for Senate races. “The problem is, if corporate PACs aren’t going to give money, corporate executives aren’t going to give money.” The issue was made significantly more complicated after Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the incoming chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a powerhouse fundraiser for his party, voted against certifying election results in Pennsylvania.

CNN: Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, defended President Donald Trump on Wednesday when asked if his ally bore any responsibility for inciting a riot at the US Capitol, putting the onus of last week’s death and destruction instead on the mob. “He’s not the one who made the decision to breach this Capitol,” Scott said. Scott’s comments came as the pro-Trump riot has torn apart the Republican Party, setting off a backlash among some donors, a historic second impeachment of the President and a fight over how best to build a path back to power.

POLITICO: National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott (Fla.) is drawing special attention within Capitol Hill and K Street circles, after Scott broke with GOP leadership in objecting to the certification of the Electoral College votes from Pennsylvania. His move has raised concerns among some in the party that it will hamper the NRSC’s fundraising just as the 2022 election cycle is getting started.

POLITICO: “Scott starts NRSC job with a big problem”

Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board: Sen. Rick Scott disgraces himself and embarrasses Florida

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Not only that, Scott voted to toss out the certified results after Trump’s mob trashed the Capitol. Anarchy, death and destruction could not make this bitter-ender change his mind.

Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: McConnell cannot allow one of his members who voted to disregard the voters’ choice for president, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), to be the chief money man and face of the Republican Senate reelection team. The same corporate and individual donors who will refuse to take McCarthy’s calls or write him checks will shun Scott.

Manu Raju, CNN: Rick Scott, the NRSC chairman, voted to throw out Pennsylvania electoral votes – as some key donors now warn they will withhold further donations. Scott here places blame on the mob – not Trump

Kyle Griffin, MSNBC: Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott is facing calls to resign from a job he just started. Scott is leading the NRSC just as major corporations halt contributions to Republicans who voted against certifying Biden’s Electoral College win — like Rick Scott.

Josh Kraushaar, National Journal: Just listen to this Rick Scott interview w @guypbenson  — the new NRSC chair! — for a taste of how awkward it will be for Republicans to talk about the last week. Couldn’t answer many of the questions directly. Worth the whole listen.

Maggie Haberman, New York Times: Very real concern among Rs working on senate races that Rick Scott, who backed the objections to the PA results, won’t now be able to raise money as NRSC chair as companies balk at giving to Rs who took that move

Susan Davis, NPR: So much focus on Cruz/Hawley, but FL Sen Rick Scott (who also has eyes on 2024) voted to reject Pennsylvania’s results. Lot of quiet anger at him too, he was just tapped to run the 2022 GOP Senate campaign operation

Alex Isenstadt, POLITICO: This comes amid grumbling from some downtown Rs over Scott’s decision to break with party leadership and vote against certification, something some worry could impact NRSC fundraising

Kasie Hunt, MSNBC: “It’s stunning, right? … Rick Scott votes to overturn the election. And yeah, I think [Republicans] really are concerned about the fundraising situation behind the scenes.”

Chuck Todd, MSNBC: “This is the person in charge of the entire Senate Republican arm. I’ve got to think Mitch McConnell must be concerned about this… I don’t know if Rick Scott can — not a single Republican running in ’22… I think a lot of them are going to run away from him.”

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