Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) made a bold decision this week that will undoubtedly draw former President Donald Trump’s attention.
According to the Washington Examiner, after several weeks of keeping his constituents and Republicans in suspense, Thune announced that he will seek yet another term in the 2022 midterm elections. As a senator on Trump’s political hit list for not agreeing to contest the 2020 election results, Thune will have to overcome that dent in his armor with his Trump-supporting constituents.
“South Dakota deserves a strong and effective senator who can deliver the results they expect,” Thune said Thursday.
He added: “I am uniquely positioned to get that job done, and I look forward to earning the support of all South Dakotans in the 2022 election for U.S. Senate.”
Chances are good
Thune, so far, doesn’t have much in the way of any Republican challengers for his 2022 seat, even as the former president had threatened the senator months ago with the possibility of backing a primary challenger.
As far as Democrats, Thune has no worries there, either, as his district is about as red as a political map can possibly be.
He also has a comfortable campaign war chest, reporting some $15 million ready to be used for the upcoming campaigning season.
The Examiner reported that Thune, at 61, and with his seniority and reputation in the upper chamber, is likely angling to eventually take over 79-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s top leadership position, as McConnell is likely nearing the end of his political career, based on his age.
Thune is reportedly a “top” candidate for the Senate GOP leadership role.
Thune a “RINO?”
In his attacks on Thune earlier this year, Trump labeled the senator as a RINO (Republican In Name Only), putting him in the same camp as McConnell, who also refused to help the former president contest the 2020 election results.
But over the past few weeks, as his colleagues and voters in the state awaited his announcement, reportedly a number of fellow Senate Republicans urged him to take the plunge, and assured him he would be safe from any Trump-backed opponents.
Only time will tell if that proves to be true, but if there’s one thing we know about Donald Trump, it’s that he doesn’t like to lose, and rarely does.