Cruz slams McConnell for ‘abandoning’ Blake Masters in Arizona
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for “abandoning” GOP nominee Blake Masters in the Arizona Senate race, accusing him of putting personal politics over the needs of the party.
Cruz is among a handful of GOP senators who have called to postpone the Senate Republican leadership elections scheduled for Wednesday.
“Abandoning Blake Masters was indefensible,” Cruz said on his podcast, “Verdict,” referring to a decision by the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with McConnell, to pull out of the Arizona Senate race.
Asked why the McConnell-allied group pulled out of the race, Cruz said it was because Masters vowed during the primary not to support McConnell for another term as leader.
“Because Masters said he would vote against Mitch McConnell. And so Mitch would rather be leader than have a Republican majority. If there’s a Republican who can win who’s not going to support Mitch, the truth of the matter is he’d rather the Democrat win,” Cruz said.
Masters said during the Arizona primary that he would support Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) or Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to replace McConnell as leader.
“I’ll tell Mitch this to his face,” Masters said during a primary debate in June. “He’s not bad at everything. He’s good at judges. He’s good at blocking Democrats. You know what he’s not good at? Legislating.”
Masters, who lost to Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), said Friday that he could have won the race and given Republicans a chance of recapturing the Senate if McConnell had put more money into his race.
“The people who control the purse strings, Senate Leadership Fund, Mitch McConnell — McConnell decided to spend millions of dollars attacking a fellow Republican in Alaska instead of helping me defeat Sen. Mark Kelly,” he said on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” referring to the money spent to defend Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) from a Trump-backed challenger.
“Had he chosen to spend money in Arizona, this race would be over [and] we’d be celebrating a Senate majority right now,” he claimed.
Even if Republicans had won the Arizona seat, however, they would still need to win the Georgia Senate runoff to control the chamber next year.
Cruz last week called for the leadership elections to be delayed until the Georgia runoff on Dec. 6.
“It makes no sense for Senate to have leadership elections before GA runoff. We don’t yet know whether we’ll have a majority & Herschel Walker deserves a say in our leadership,” he tweeted, referring to the Republican nominee challenging Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia.
McConnell told reporters Monday afternoon that he feels confident about winning reelection to serve another term as GOP leader.
“Of course,” he said when asked whether he had enough votes.
No Senate Republican has announced plans to challenge McConnell for the top leadership job.
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