Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-SD) confirmed he’s running to succeed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as GOP Senate leader.

“Do you want to be Senate Majority or Minority leader?” a reporter from KELOLAND News asked Thune in a clip posted to X.

“I hope to be,” Thune answered.


POLITICO reports:

Thune joins Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who previously held the post Thune now occupies, as formally declared candidates to become Senate Republican leader. Others are expected to join the race.

The veteran South Dakota legislator declined to directly answer whether former President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his loss in the 2020 presidential election gave Thune pause before he endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee this cycle.

“I’ve said what I’ve said — and I’m not going to re-litigate it,” Thune said. “The important thing now is … that we move forward in a way that hopefully gets this country back on track.”

Asked about his decision to endorse Trump, Thune said: “I let the process play out … At this point now, it’s really down to Biden and Trump. And that, to me, is a very clear choice.”

“Thune joins Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in officially declaring his candidacy. Senate GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso could also jump into the race, but has not yet made a decision,” WarRoom CFO/COO Grace Chong wrote.

From the New York Post:

In preparation for his run, Thune revealed in a separate interview with Dakota News Now that he’s already meeting with colleagues and “hearing from them about what they want to see in the next leader” and what the priorities should be if Republicans take control of the Senate after the November election.

“For me, it’s really about trying to be a difference-maker,” Thune said. “I think I have something to contribute there. I think we’re ready for a new generation of consistent, principled, conservative leadership for Republicans in the United States Senate that empowers our individual members, gets back to doing things under regular order.”

“I think this is a real opportunity. Any transition is a chance for a reset. In my view, this is a chance for a reset and I’d like to be a part of it.”

Thune already has at least one challenger lined up – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Cornyn entered the fray last week, becoming the first Republican to do so, just a day after 82-year-old McConnell’s surprise announcement that he’ll step down as the Republican leader after the November elections.

“I believe the Senate is broken — that is not news to anyone. The good news is that it can be fixed, and I intend to play a major role in fixing it,” the Texas Republican said in his announcement.

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