The original email that sparked the hot Mitch McConnell-Rick Scott war that started cold
Mitch in twilight: Loathed as ever, holding as much power as before.
I’ve written a deep dive on Mitch McConnell’s future in a Republican Party — currently at war with itself and continually consumed by Donald Trump — and the road that led the Kentuckian to this delicate moment in his long leadership tenure.
But insider readers of #TooCloseToCall will enjoy feasting on a particular vignette that triggered the newer, perhaps more immediately consequential strife between McConnell, Sen. Rick Scott and their footsoldiers, one of which was described to me as Scott’s “bad angel.”
Rick Scott had barely settled into his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in January of 2021 when his top political adviser fired off a curious email to a chain of GOP operatives that left many of them bewildered.
Curt Anderson’s email, sent just in the wake of the Senate runoff losses in Georgia, forwarded a column by The Federalist’s Ben Domenech that laid the blame for the party’s losses in the prior election squarely at the feet of McConnell.
Among the wider operative class and McConnell’s team specifically, it was taken as a direct potshot at the leader of the party and the man Scott was now expected to work hand-in-hand with during the 2022 midterm election.
The note from Anderson, described by one Senate aide as the Florida senator’s “bad angel,” would be far from the last unusual moment of Scott’s tenure at the NRSC — and hardly its most controversial.
But it was the first sign to McConnell’s world that Scott would be more of an emerging rival than an ally.
Note: I reached out to Curt Anderson (a.k.a. “bad angel) several times for this piece and he did not respond to this very good angel.
Also in the piece>
how McConnell’s original approach to the 2022 midterm races (“crushing the sons of bitches”) was frittered away by the one force he can’t and refuses to control
the second-guessing over McConnell’s Seinfeld strategy: Offering voters nothing but a switch in power vs. a specific conservative agenda
his real thoughts on Herschel Walker and the Georgia runoff and how the December outcome could just pour more fuel on top of his irritated 49-member conference.
and the speculation about whether the 80-year-old McConnell will try to outlast, vanquish or ignore Trump as he trudges into 2024.
McConnell likes to quip that being in the majority is much better than serving in the minority. But given the level of acrimony currently consuming the party, there’s now an open question over who’s more likely to see that goal come to fruition: Mar-a-Lago’s most famous resident or the leader from Louisville.
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