McConnell replacement options include three senators named John

 March 4, 2024

A list is forming of senators who want to replace outgoing Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY), and three of them are named John.

McConnell has been the Republican leader for the last 18 years, but at age 82 has had increasing health problems, including two bad falls, and has recently been freezing up during speeches. He announced last week he would step down at the end of the year.

John Thune: McConnell's second in command

Current Majority Whip John Thune (SD) has been open about his desire to succeed McConnell and is required to step down as whip after this year.

He has not made a formal run for McConnell's job, but any other move for him would be a downward one.

Thune is 63 years old and has been in the Senate since 2005.

John Barrasso: Number three

Sen. John Barrasso (WY) has been the number three Republican in the Senate since 2019. He could potentially run for either the number one or number two position.

“He’s in a position of strength and will make an announcement on his own timeline — not somebody else’s,” a source close to Barrasso told NBC News.

Barrasso is 71 and has been a senator since 2007.

John Cornyn: First one in

Sen. John Cornyn (TX) was the first senator to officially make a bid for McConnell's job, saying that he hopes to "fix a broken Senate."

“I am asking my Republican colleagues to give me the opportunity to succeed Leader McConnell,” Cornyn said. “We will improve communication, increase transparency, and ensure inclusion of every Member’s expertise and opinion. We will restore the important role of Senate committees and reestablish the regular appropriations process, rather than lurch from one crisis to another. And we will return power back to our members; there will be no more backroom deals or forced votes on bills without adequate time for review, debate, and amendment.”

Cornyn was formerly the whip under McConnell from 2013 to 2019, in times of both a Republican majority and minority.

He has also been chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for two terms, providing crucial resources to get Republicans elected and re-elected to the Senate.

At age 72, Cornyn has been in the Senate since 2002.

All three Johns have endorsed former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024.


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