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McCarthy wins GOP nomination for speaker, with 31 Republicans voting against him

US Sen. Josh Hawley talks to reporters on Monday. (CNN)

The midterm results, which allowed Democrats to keep their Senate majority, have caused some Republicans to openly question who should lead the party moving forward ahead of leadership elections. 

Hawley says McConnell can’t take GOP back to the majority

Sen. Josh Hawley told CNN’s Manu Raju that “clearly what we’re doing isn’t working” to become the majority party.

“It hasn’t been working for a long time,” he said. “And I think you look at independent voters, I mean, we gave them nothing, no alternative. That was the decision by leadership. They didn’t want to have an agenda.”

Hawley added he’d vote for Sen. Rick Scott if he challenged Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for leader, and reiterated that he believes the leadership elections should be delayed until after the Georgia runoff. 

Cruz on leadership elections: We need a leader who “doesn’t roll over immediately”

Sen. Ted Cruz criticized Senate GOP leadership for “capitulating to Democrats” during the last two years, sharply criticizing their messaging strategy during this cycle. 

“I believe we should have a leader that actually listens to the conference, and that is willing to stand and fight, doesn’t roll over immediately,” said Cruz. 

“Our current leadership believes the way you win elections is that you don’t stand for anything, you don’t have an agenda, you don’t have a plan. Instead, that the only thing you stand up and say is ‘Well, I’m not a Democrat. So vote for me.’ You know what? Election Day showed we need to be more than just not a Democrat,” he said.

Cruz said it would be “utterly insane” to hold leadership elections tomorrow, before a postmortem of the election results.

“I’ll tell you this, I believe if we don’t delay the election, I think it is very likely that we will see someone run against Mitch McConnell,” he added.

Ex-Trump chief of staff says it’s time for RNC chair to move on

Mick Mulvaney, former acting chief of staff to President Donald Trump, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan that he is not a fan of Ronna McDaniel running for reelection as chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.

“We got along well when I worked in the White House and I have no complaints about her personally. But we have a track record of losing with her in charge. Again, we lost in 2018. We lost in 2020. We didn’t win like we should have last week,” Mulvaney said on Tuesday. 

Mulvaney’s comments come amid reports that McDaniel told RNC members during a conference call on Monday that she intends to seek reelection to another term, according to people familiar with the call. 

Thune expects “candid conversation” at GOP lunch

Senate Republican Whip John Thune said he expects a “candid conversation” when members of the GOP conference meet for lunch Tuesday to assess why they had lackluster election results and to begin the process of deciding who their elected leadership team will be for the next Congress.   

“I expect leaders will be able to make their voices heard like we always do. But I also expect a lot of our members — who tend in most cases to be vocal at these lunches — to be vocal today. We’ll see where it goes,” Thune told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s good. We need these candid conversations, certainly within the family as we think about charting the future, learning from the past, being informed by the past, but getting ready for the future.” 

Thune also said he hoped former President Donald Trump would have waited until after the Georgia Senate runoff to announce another presidential election bid, which he is expected to do tonight.  

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