Senate Leadership Update: One John Bows Out

Senate Leadership Update: One John Bows Out

State of the Union: Sen. John Barrasso will not be running to replace Mitch McConnell as GOP leader.

In the shadow of Super Tuesday, another race is taking shape: the race to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

While only one candidate has declared their intent to replace McConnell, bids for the GOP leadership undercard are narrowing the field to replace McConnell.

Last week, McConnell announced he would not seek another term as the Republican party’s leader in the upper chamber come November 2024. While the Kentucky Senator is stepping down from leadership, McConnell said he intends to serve out the rest of his term, which ends in 2027. The surprise announcement, made just days before a (temporarily) averted government shutdown sent Capitol Hill into a frenzy. The spotlight turned to the three Johns of the GOP conference: Senate GOP WHIP John Thune, Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who has long had ambitions for Senate GOP leader and jumped in the race the day after McConnell’s announcement. When Sen. J.D. Vance was asked who he’d support for leadership shortly after McConnell’s retirement, the Ohio Senator quipped, “I plan to support John.”

A few days later, Vance told the media that “John Barrasso is certainly one of the leadership candidates who cares a lot, I think, about where the broader conservative movement is.” Nevertheless, Vance added, “I don’t know that he actually wants to run.”

Barrasso has made his decision. The Wyoming Senator will be running for GOP WHIP come 2024, clearing the path for Thune if the number two Republican wanted to jump in. Nevertheless, there could be a spanner in the works for one of the Johns. Rumors continue to circulate that Sens. Steve Daines, Marco Rubio, or Rick Scott could throw their hat in the ring. One of the potential non-Johns, Sen. Tom Cotton, will be running to replace Barasso as conference chair.

If the field gets crowded, a coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump could become the decisive factor.

The post Senate Leadership Update: One John Bows Out appeared first on The American Conservative.

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