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Senator John Cornyn Announces Run for Senate Leadership

The Texas Republican is the first of his colleagues to launch a bid for the position

Senator John Cornyn Announces Run for Senate Leadership

Senator John Cornyn of Texas wants to take over the leadership position currently held by Senator Mitch McConnell.

McConnell announced on Feb. 28 that he would not seek another term as the highest-ranking Republican in the United States Senate.

“I am asking my Republican colleagues to give me the opportunity to succeed Leader McConnell. I have learned a lot during my time both in and out of Senate leadership,” Cornyn said in a statement, per The Texas Tribune. “Throughout my time I’ve built a track record of listening to colleagues and seeking consensus, while leading the fight to stop bad policies that are harmful to our nation and the conservative cause.”

Cornyn is currently serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate. Prior to his time in the federal government, he was the attorney general of Texas and a member of his state’s supreme court. He is considered to be an ally of McConnell and is known for his work on the Senate Judiciary, Intelligence, and Finance Committees. Cornyn was the Republican Whip from 2013 to 2019.

The Texas Republican praised McConnell, who Cornyn said had “made an indelible mark on this institution and the Republican Party.”

Most importantly, Leader McConnell protected the Senate’s essential role under the Constitution,” he wrote in a message on X. “He cares deeply about the rules and traditions of this body – ones that have worked in the past and will continue to work so long as we let them.”

McConnell is the longest-serving Senate leader from either political party. He began serving in the Senate roughly four decades ago and has held a leadership position for the last 17 years.

"As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work," said McConnell while speaking from the Senate floor, per Fox News. "A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today."

"There will be a new custodian of this great institution next year. As you know, I intend to turn the job over to a Republican majority leader," said the senator from Kentucky. "I have full confidence in my conference to choose my replacement and lead our country forward." 

McConnell’s announcement comes a week after his 82nd birthday.

It has been widely speculated that Senator Minority Whip John Thune and Wyoming Senator John Barrasso will launch their own bids to take over the vacated leadership position. Thune, who represents South Dakota, told reporters he would have more to say about the leadership race in the near future when asked by reporters after McConnell’s announcement, according to The Hill.

Barrasso has also evaded making a definitive statement about his plans.

“What I'm focused on is the election that's going to come up in November for president, for the Senate. That's my focus,” he told reporters on Feb. 28, per Axios.

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