Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says Mitch McConnell’s retirement makes Rick Scott more dangerous

Rick Scott Debbie Mucarsel-Powell SBS AP
The Democratic Senate candidate predicts Rick Scott will bring hurtful bills if elevated to Senate leadership.

Democratic Senate candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell already calls GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Rick Scott “extreme.” But with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stepping down this year, she is arguing Scott could become more powerful — and more dangerous.

“The stakes of this race just got so much higher,” said the Miami Democrat, who is attempting to run against Scott for his Senate seat. “Now the Florida Senate race will not only decide if we (Democrats) keep the Senate majority, but who the leader of that majority will be.”

Mucarsel-Powell noted that Scott, after the 2022 Midterms, challenged McConnell for the job of GOP caucus leader. Scott lost that race, receiving just 10 votes, so it’s not clear what appetite exists for elevating him to leadership.

But Scott for months has been among McConnell’s most vocal detractors among Senate Republicans. After news broke about McConnell’s impending retirement as leader, Scott signaled that he could seek the post again.

“As everyone knows, I challenged Leader McConnell last year,” he said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to refocus our efforts on solving the significant challenges facing our country and actually reflect the aspirations of voters.”

Mucarsel-Powell says she is acting as if Scott will try again for the job of Republican leader.

“Anyone who has watched his career knows he is only in it for self-gain and self-enrichment,” she said. “It would be disastrous to have someone like Rick Scott, if he goes back to the Senate, become Senate Majority Leader. He would bring the most hurtful bills to the Senate floor.”

She pointed toward Scott’s 11-point Rescue America plan, a document her campaign previously brought up to attack the incumbent. That called for a sunset of all major programs for review after five years, something Democrats widely saw as an attack on Medicare and Social Security.

Scott notably revised that plan shortly after its release and made clear he did not want to end either program. But Mucarsel-Powell notes that only happened after McConnell publicly rebuked the plan.

“That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda,” McConnell told press after the initial plan’s release.

The relationship between McConnell and Scott seemed to sour permanently afterward. Now, Mucarsel-Powell is highlighting the many points where Scott’s positions were sidelined by McConnell. That includes whether to consider a border deal and if Congress should send aid to Ukraine, not to mention Scott’s unwavering loyalty to former President Donald Trump.

Scott for his part has questioned McConnell, particularly in the last year, saying McConnell has been too deferential to President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats. Both Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida’s other Republican Senator, voted against a foreign aid package passed in the Senate.

“This process has destroyed the Senate and ignores the great history of our nation,” Scott said in a floor speech about his vote against the deal.

But Mucarsel-Powell argued the incumbent held positions favored by the far right that hurt national security, and he would force those positions as a Senate leader.

“He is nothing but a poster child of extreme policies,” she said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • MH/Duuuval

    February 28, 2024 at 10:39 pm

    Sentient beings don’t need any persiflage about Scott to know to vote AGAINST him, regardless of his opponent.

  • Arthur Malaret

    February 29, 2024 at 2:12 am

    Mitch Mc Connell is a looser and it is great that he’s stepping down, he should have done that many years a go. If Debbie Murcalsel thinks that Mc Connell is a good leader then Murcalsel is a greater looser . Rick Scott has been Governor of Florida and Senator of Florida. That means that residents of Florida like the job he is doing for this State. Debbie you are a joke. You only lasted one term in congress. I wonder why? Go away and stop inventing with other people’s carears, especially with a Veteran. What have you done for this country?

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 29, 2024 at 7:40 am

    The question isn’t whether newfound power makes Rick Scott more dangerous.

    Today’s G0P has decided there can be only one Republican who has any power.

    The question is how much more dangerous it makes Senate Leader Donald Trump.

    Be Trump the Senate’s majority or minority leader, when he is also House Speaker, or more likely House minority leader, but either way, Trump is the question.

    Scott is just another Trump suck-up like House N_____ Mile Johnson and the rest of today’s G0P (other than maybe, MAYBE Nikki Haley but we’ll see how that plays out)

  • It's Complicated

    February 29, 2024 at 2:10 pm

    Senator Scott did “OK” as chair of the RNSC, but failed to regain GOP control of the U.S. Senate. Don’t see how he’s earned the Leader role. He needs to focus on what is in front of him, which from a political standpoint is getting reelected.

    • Dont Say FLA

      March 1, 2024 at 1:06 pm

      G0P Leadership roles are earned by being first in line to say “Yes sir” to Unelected Trump.

      Just be there. Say “Yes sir.” Shazam. You’re a leader.

Comments are closed.


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