Here’s Who Might Run To Replace McConnell As Senate GOP Leader, Including The ‘Three Johns’

 With Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announcing on Wednesday his intent to end his reign as GOP leader in the Senate, speculation about who will run to replace him in the role quickly began to mount.

Top of the list of potential contenders, according to early chatter, appears to be the so-called “three Johns:” Sens. John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), and John Cornyn (R-TX).

Thune is currently the second-ranked Republican in the chamber, serving as minority whip — a role in which the holder performs head counts and rallies members of the party for votes and quorum calls.

The No. 3 Republican in the Senate is Barrasso, who serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. Cornyn is a former Republican whip and ex-chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee tasked with getting Republicans elected to the Senate.

None of the “three Johns” appeared to be ready to make any sort of announcement shortly after McConnell delivered remarks on the Senate floor declaring his plans to step down.

“That election is nine months away, and there is a much more important election between now and then,” Barrasso said, according to CNN. “And that’s the election that we need to take the presidency, and the Senate, and the House and that’s where my focus is right now.”

Thune released a statement that said, “I look forward to having a discussion with my colleagues about what the future holds for the Senate Republican Conference and a new generation of leadership.”

Fox News reported that Cornyn said he has “made no secret about my intentions,” but declined to share plans on his timeline for making a decision.


McConnell’s announcement comes has he faced blowback from some GOP colleagues over his support of a border deal that failed to pass after months of bipartisan negotiations. And unlike other top Senate Republicans, McConnell has not endorsed former President Donald Trump or any other GOP candidates running for the White House in 2024.

During his speech on Wednesday, McConnell said he will stay on as leader for the time being as his colleagues pick a new leader in November and that person will take on the role in January. He also indicated plans to remain as a senator for his full term, which ends in January 2027.

The last time a GOP leadership election was held, in November of 2022, McConnell prevailed over a challenge by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL).

Some Republican and conservatives have begun voicing support for Scott, a former governor of Florida and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to mount another campaign for leader.

“Mitch McConnell stepping down provides a great opportunity for true conservative leadership in the Senate. [Sen. Rick Scott] would make a great Republican leader,” Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said in a post to X.

Scott released a statement on McConnell stepping down but did not immediately announce a run to replace him.

“I have been very clear and have long believed that we need new leadership in the Senate that represents our voters and the issues we were sent here to fight for,” Scott said.

“As everyone knows, I challenged McConnell last year,” he added. “This is an opportunity to refocus our efforts on solving the significant challenges facing our country and actually reflect the aspirations of voters.”

Among other names being floated as possible candidates for GOP leader was Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the current chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee who is now focused on getting Republicans to win back the majority in the upper chamber.

Here’s Who Might Run To Replace McConnell As Senate GOP Leader, Including The ‘Three Johns’ Here’s Who Might Run To Replace McConnell As Senate GOP Leader, Including The ‘Three Johns’ Reviewed by Your Destination on February 29, 2024 Rating: 5

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