Florida Sen. Rick Scott will be the next chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, with his colleagues formally selecting him for the job Tuesday morning.
Scott was unopposed for the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairmanship, after announcing he would run for the post late last week. The current NRSC chairman, Indiana’s Todd Young, is up for reelection in 2022.
Scott is often listed among potential presidential hopefuls in 2024, and his stint as head of the NRSC would expand his political résumé. It’s not yet clear whether Scott will be tasked with defending a GOP majority or with winning back control of the Senate. With President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Democrats now have a narrow path to the Senate majority if they win both of the Senate runoffs in Georgia. Senate races in Alaska and North Carolina have still not been called, but the Republican incumbents are leading there.
Either way, Scott faces a difficult Senate map in 2022, when Republicans will largely be on defense. If appointed Georgia GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler holds on to her seat in the Jan. 5 runoff, Republicans will be defending 21 Senate seats compared with 13 for the Democrats. Republicans will be defending seats in swing states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Scott’s own Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio is up for reelection. Democratic seats in battleground states on the 2022 ballot include Arizona and Nevada.
Scott’s background winning statewide in Florida, a perennial battleground, could bolster his chairmanship. He was first elected to the Senate in 2018, unseating longtime Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in a close race that prompted a hand recount. Scott defeated Nelson by just over 10,000 votes.
That Florida race was the most expensive Senate contest in the state’s history, and at the time set the record for the most expensive Senate race ever, although that record was broken in the 2020 cycle. Scott, a former hospital CEO and venture capitalist who is worth an estimated $250 million, contributed nearly $64 million of his own money to his 2018 campaign.
Before his election to the Senate, Scott, a Navy veteran, served two terms as governor of Florida.
Chris Cioffi contributed to this report.