As The Race To Replace McConnell Continues, John Cornyn Shows Off His Fundraising Prowess

( — On February 28, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell announced he would be stepping down from his position as Senate Republican leader in November. McConnell is the longest-serving Senate Republican leader in history, having served for nearly two decades in the office. Since then, speculation has abounded as to who will be taking his place. Currently, Texas Senator John Cornyn and South Dakota Senator John Thune are considered to be the frontrunners.

Hopefuls aspiring to be the next Senate Republican leader need to make their pitch by impressing other Republican senators. Being talented and effective fundraisers for the GOP is something both Cornyn and Thune have historically excelled at, and this year they are trying to break their own records. Cornyn has raised $5.6 million over the first quarter through the Cornyn Victory Committee as well as more directly to GOP incumbents and candidates. According to some sources, the total may be closer to $17.2 million when all the figures are released.

Thune is considered the second-highest fundraiser for the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), just behind Chairman Steve Daines. So far this cycle, it’s estimated that Thune has raised $13.1 million for his party. Thune has also been seen ramping up his fundraising schedule as he travels around the country, attending in-person events. Some sources have indicated Senator Thune has participated in over 200 events for incumbents, candidates, and the NRSC just during this cycle.

Senate leadership votes are usually secret ballots, so they can be hard to predict ahead of time. Fundraising chops are important, but there are always other factors in these races. A surprise additional contender could join before the vote and prove a formidable opponent. Florida Senator Rick Scott expressed some interest in the position earlier this year. Many Republican senators have expressed some conflict over who they will ultimately support. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis speaks for a lot of people when he suggests that anyone replacing McConnell will have big shoes to fill.

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