Republican senators are playing coy on leadership — instead saying they want to delay
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

WASHINGTON — Some Republican senators want to hold back the vote for their minority leader until after the runoff election in Georgia.

Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday morning, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) spoke out against what he called "too many chiefs and not enough Indians," a reference to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) opposing Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate. "It's like herding cats and we don't need too many irons in the fire."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said clearly, "I don't think we should have the vote tomorrow," about whether McConnell or Scott takes over.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that opposition to the Senate leader isn't unusual, "it used to be the norm that that there were contested races all the time, when I first came to the Senate."

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Sen. John Thune (R-SD) spoke about the leadership in relation to Georgia. "I think it's helpful to go into the runoff with a united front. And I think rapping up everything helps us do that."

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) dismissed Scott's challenge, saying it was "fine," because "it's not going to go anywhere." He cited a "large amount of money" that was spent in Wisconsin on helping Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) from GOP groups. He made it clear that he'll be supporting McConnell for the leadership post.

Johnson was a little more cagey on who he was supporting for the GOP leadership post.

"I think we had a good discussion. I guess we'll start to take some vote on whether we delay tomorrow," said the senator. "We had a good discussion going in. I've got no animosity on my part. I just think, uh, we should have a discussion about how we model the conference."

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When asked who was most helpful in his race, Johnson said everyone contributed, but "I worked my nail off." He went on to say "I won, when no one thought I could again. Look, I think we're colleagues who respect each other I just don't think it's that big a deal. I certainly started out saying I have no animosity. We've had very good discussions in that conference. We respect each other. We've had some tough issues over the 12 issues I've been here."

He then tried to reframe it as not a challenge to the McConnell leadership but a "challenge to the governing model." He did say, however, that he wants to delay the vote until after the Georgia election in December. Normally, elections for leadership are held as much as 60 days after the election, Johnson said, which is why he thinks they should wait.

When asked about the risks for taking on McConnell, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) quipped that there weren't any for him.

"If I was going to be here for a career — but I think it's the right thing to do." He called it an example of "refining the system," instead of upending it. "Because I think the results ought to speak for themselves. We're $31 trillion in debt [it was] $18 trillion when I got here."

With additional reporting by Matt Laslo