Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Wednesday defended the GOP’s crop of midterm Senate nominees and pushed back on accusations that candidate quality was the reason for their downfall.
Scott, who led the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, lamented the party’s losses following Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) victory over Republican Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff on Tuesday. The race handed Democrats a 51-49 majority, marking a net gain for the party in power.
But he said the Republican Party had put forward strong candidates.
“I thought we could win. I thought we would win. I thought we were going to get the majority. All of this has been pretty disappointing,” Scott told The Hill. “We had good, quality candidates. … We had a lot of candidates who went through really tough primaries. We had 21 seats up, [Democrats] only had 14.”
“We were going up against incumbents. Incumbents can raise a lot more money,” Scott continued. “There’s always things that make it harder.”
Complaints about the quality of a number of the GOP’s Senate nominees burst into the open in August when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raised an issue that some others had already been grumbling about. Some Republicans voiced that same discontent on Wednesday.
Multiple Republican candidates, for instance, were pushed over the finish line in primaries by former President Trump but then hamstrung by poor general election fundraising that left them exposed against Democrats with significant financial advantages, including in Arizona and Georgia.
For others, personal issues and scandals appeared to hurt their efforts.
Walker was unable to overcome allegations of abuse against significant others and reports that he paid for at least one abortion for a former girlfriend. The former star running back was staunchly anti-abortion and was against exceptions.