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S.D.’s Thune Eyes Succession to Senate GOP Leader McConnell

Credits: Axios

South Dakota Senator John Thune has announced his intention to run for the position of Republican leader of the U.S. Senate once Senator Mitch McConnell steps down in November.

Thune, currently the No. 2 Senate Republican, expressed his interest in the role in interviews with local news outlets, stating that he hopes to persuade his colleagues to support him.

Thune’s announcement sets up an expected race with Texas Senator John Cornyn, who held the No. 2 leadership post until he was term-limited five years ago.

Thune (Credits: EL PAÍS English)

Other senators, including Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, could also enter the race. Republican senators will choose a new leader in a closed-door conference meeting after the November elections.

Thune has at times clashed with former President Donald Trump but has expressed his support for Trump’s nomination in the upcoming presidential election. Thune mulled retirement in 2022 but ultimately decided to return to the Senate, seeing an opportunity to become leader.

The race for Republican leader comes as McConnell announced last week that he would not seek reelection as GOP leader when his term ends in November.

McConnell’s decision follows criticism from some within his party who have called for a change in leadership. The election for Republican leader will be closely watched as the party seeks to define its direction in the post-McConnell era.

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