As chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Florida Republican also failed to secure the party's control of the Senate.
Republican Rick Scott of Florida said on Tuesday that he plans to seek a second term in the U.S. Senate in 2024 following his failure to gain a Republican Senate majority during the 2022 midterm election.
Scott's tenure as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the organization responsible for supporting Republican Senate candidates and incumbents, has been marred by failure especially after Republicans lost a GOP-held Senate seat in Pennsylvania and failed to defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) under his tenure. Scott also released an unpopular plan to raise taxes for most Americans and to sunset popular programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and the Voting Rights Act.
"I'm running for re-election for Senator from the great state of Florida. I will, you know, work my butt off for the next two years for my re-election," he said. He added later, "I have no plans to run for president. I have a 100% plan to run for the U.S. Senate."
Scott, a multimillionaire, barely defeated then-Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in 2018, 50.1%-49.9% after spending more than $63 million of his personal funds on his campaign — a record at the time. He was attacked by Democrats for his role in overseeing $1.7 billion in Medicare fraud during his prior tenure as CEO of a chain of hospitals.
A humiliating election loss
In November 2020, Senate Republicans elected Scott to chair the party's campaign committee for the 2022 midterm cycle. His task: gain at least one seat in the 50-50 Senate to regain a Republican majority. He confidently stated that he had "no doubt there’s a red wave coming" and predicted that the party would win at least 52 seats. Instead, his party lost a seat, solidifying the Democratic Party's majority.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) noted on Nov. 9 that Democratic attacks on Republicans over plans to undermine Social Security and Medicare "may have had an impact" in blunting the GOP's expected midterm momentum and preventing a red wave.
Despite spending more than $200 million of the Committee's funds, Scott lost a Republican seat in the Senate. Sen.-elect John Fetterman (D-PA) flipped an open GOP seat, and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) won his runoff election against Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia on Tuesday, consolidating the Democratic Party's power in the Senate.
Other Senate Republicans publicly questioned Scott's tenure as NRSC chair and Sens. Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Thom Tillis (NC) called for an audit after the election.
An April 18 Washington Post report cited Republicans complaining that Scott was wasting so much NRSC money on marketing himself instead of Senate candidates that the committee's NRSC acronym had become the "National Rick Scott Committee."
In a Nov. 18 Washington Post op-ed, conservative American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marc Thiessen wrote that Scott's "catastrophic tenure at the helm of the GOP's Senate campaign arm" included millions of dollars wasted on his own "self-promotion" and asserted that Scott failed to address major problems in August because he was vacationing on a yacht in Italy.
Rick Scott's quest to cut Medicare and Social Security
Scott released an 11-point "Rescue America" plan for the Republican Party in February 2022, saying that after regaining control of the Senate, "Americans deserve to know what we will do."
"I'll warn you; this plan is not for the faint of heart. It will be ridiculed by the 'woke' left, mocked by Washington insiders, and strike fear in the heart of some Republicans. At least I hope so," he explained.
His proposal included the elimination of two million jobs, automatically sunsetting every single federal law after five years, an end of the federal climate change response, and a federal tax increase for more than 100 million families.
Democrats were quick to seize on these unpopular ideas and ran ads against GOP candidates, warning that a Republican majority would end vital safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare, and it would mean tax hikes for most Americans — especially retirees and lower-income families.
Eliminating Medicare and Social Security would be especially damaging to Scott's own Florida constituents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 20% of Florida's roughly 22 million residents are age 65 or older. Almost 5 million Floridians receive Social Security, and a similar number get their health insurance through Medicare.
Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly attacked Scott's plan, pledging, "We will not have as a part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years."
Scott has also opposed Democratic legislation that helps his constituents and funds Florida.
After voting against President Joe Biden's 2021 COVID-19 relief package — a plan that provided more than $17 billion in federal funds for his own state — Scott unsuccessfully tried to convince GOP governors to return their share of the money. Voters across the country overwhelmingly backed the package.
He also voted against the bipartisan America COMPETES Act, which included many of the same manufacturing ideas he touted in his own Rescue America plan, opposed the bipartisan $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and voted against the historic Inflation Reduction Act and its provisions to cap the cost of insulin and prescription drugs.
While Scott frequently argues that no one should be allowed to serve more than 12 years in the Senate, he has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican colleagues who had already served at least that long.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.