U.S. Senate Republican campaign chief denies feud with McConnell

U.S. Senate Republican campaign chief denies feud with McConnell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Republican campaign chief denied on Tuesday that he is at odds with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell over the quality of party candidates in key swing states that could determine whether Republicans win control of the congressional chamber in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Senator Rick Scott, who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, triggered party concerns about a potentially damaging quarrel with McConnell last week by railing against people in the party who he said were "trash-talking" Republican Senate candidates.

"It's an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it's treasonous to the conservative cause," Scott wrote in a Sept. 1 Op-Ed article in the Washington Examiner. The article ran weeks after McConnell had cited candidate quality as a reason why Republicans could have a better chance of winning a majority in the House of Representatives than in the Senate.

But Scott told reporters on Tuesday that his comments were aimed at anonymous critics, not at McConnell.

"It said people are doing anonymous quotes and trashing our Republican candidates," Scott said after exiting a Republican leadership meeting with McConnell in the U.S. Capitol. Asked specifically if his references were about McConnell, Scott replied: "No."

"I think it's important that we all work together to figure out how we can win," Scott said.

First-time Senate Republican candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump have weathered embarrassing gaffes or have failed to pull ahead of their Democratic rivals in key states such as Arizona, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

With the Senate split 50-50 and Democrats in charge only because of Vice President Kamala Harris's tie-breaking vote, Republicans need a net gain of only one seat to gain the majority.

The Senate Republican campaign committee that Scott chairs has also been short on money, with $23 million of cash at the end of July. Its Democratic rival had $54 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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