“The last two years we had a number of our colleagues join Democrats in spending like drunken sailors,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Fox News on Sunday. “We need to have thorough discussions internally. And as I talked to my colleagues before I left town, if I survived reelection, we need a different governing model for our conference that is more business-like.”
Johnson panned the decision to hold GOP leadership elections in just three days: “It is absurd; it is preposterous.”
“We need serious discussions,” said Johnson. “That’s going to take about a month, and I think Democrats are smart in terms of delaying their elections until the first week in December. We ought to follow suit.”
Johnson joins a growing number of GOP senators who are calling for the Senate leadership election to be moved to a later date. The runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Republican Herschel Walker is slated for Dec. 6, while the final result for Alaska’s ranked-choice Senate race won’t be known for weeks.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and several others have reportedly circulated a letter calling for the leadership race to be rescheduled. On Saturday, Hawley pilloried the GOP’s direction and called the party “dead” in a Twitter post.
It comes after the race for Nevada’s Senate seat was called in favor of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). Following the result of the election, media outlets said Democrats again control the Senate.
Amid the clamoring for new leadership, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has remained mostly silent. Neither he nor his office have issued statements about a GOP leader reelection bid or about the dismal midterm results.
As for Johnson, the Republican senator won his reelection bid against Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes last week.
With the results in Nevada now decided, Georgia is the only state where both parties are still competing for a Senate seat. Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock faces GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a Dec. 6 runoff. Alaska’s Senate race has advanced to ranked choice voting, though the seat will stay in Republican hands.
Democrat control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for Biden’s cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings. The party will also keep control over committees and have the power to conduct investigations or oversight of the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation sent over by the House if the GOP wins that chamber.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.