Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said Thursday that he will support incumbent Republicans senators against potential primary challengers backed by former President Donald Trump.
“I’m supporting incumbents,” Scott told reporters according to The Hill. His comments indicate the NRSC will be more firmly committed to supporting Republican incumbents during the 2022 and 2024 congressional election cycles. Scott previously told The Washington Post earlier this month that he was uneasy about backing primary challengers, even those backed by Trump.
“I’m supporting incumbents,” NRSC chairman Senator Rick Scott when asked about reports Ivanka Trump could challenge incumbent Senator Marco Rubio in Florida (h/t Capitol Hill press pool @alanhe)
— Emily Goodin (@Emilylgoodin) January 21, 2021
The NRSC is the GOP’s official committee to help elect Republicans to the Senate. The committee typically supports Republican incumbents but is now facing pressure from Trump, who has threatened to back primary opponents against senators perceived as insufficiently loyal.
But Senate Republicans will be defending 20 seats during the 2022 midterms and a tougher primary season could upend efforts to retake the majority, according to The Hill.
Trump announced in the weeks before leaving office that he would consider backing primary challenges against a number of Republican lawmakers he felt did not back his efforts to contest the 2020 election, according to Forbes. Senate Minority Whip John Thune and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski were among the lawmakers Trump called out.
Some Trump allies are reportedly considering Ivanka Trump as a potential primary challenger against Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, according to Politico. Scott told reporters Thursday he was not aware of a primary challenge against his fellow Florida senator. (RELATED: Marco Rubio And Tom Cotton Might Be The Beneficiaries Of Post-Election Chaos)
“Nobody has talked to me about it at all. Nobody. I’ve tried to call around. Nobody’s said anything about Florida,” he said according to Politico.
Scott also said the Republican strategy for 2022 would focus on opposing President Joe Biden but did not indicate whether he thought Trump-backed primary challengers would make that strategy more difficult.
“Part of what I’m trying to do is get everybody to focus on, you know, what the difference is between Republicans and Democrats,” he told reporters according to The Hill. “I think it’s gonna be clear with a lot of Biden stuff.”