Barrasso Officially Decides to Run for No. 2 Spot in GOP

( — On Wednesday, February 28, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell announced he was stepping down from his position as Senate Republican leader. Since then, there has been speculation over who should take on the role. Various names have been put forth, some have expressed interest, and others have categorically denied they would seek the position. Republican Senators John Thune of South Dakota, John Cornyn of Texas, and John Barrasso of Wyoming, sometimes referred to as the “Three Johns” have been considered the most likely.

However, Barrasso has announced to his Republican colleagues in a letter that he will not be seeking the role of leader, but rather he will be aiming a bit lower for that of Assistant Republican Leader, also referred to as Whip. The Senate Republican leader is considered the number one Senate GOP leadership position, but the Whip is just below it, sometimes standing in for them in their absence. Senator Thune currently occupies the Whip role but is term-limited out of the job.

In his announcement, Barrasso said he would be working to retake the Senate for the Republicans as well as helping former President Trump in his bid for a second presidential term. Barrasso also mentioned the need for greater transparency about the Senate processes and the choices being made, as well as offering mild criticism of deal-making between some members being prioritized ahead of achieving consensus.

Barrasso currently holds the position of conference chair but is term-limited out, so it is unsurprising that he will be seeking to move up the Republican Senate ranks. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has already announced he will be angling for Barrasso’s vacated seat. It should be noted that they can only pursue one position in the party leadership at a time, so all this jockeying for rank will leave the field for McConnell’s position more open for Thune and Cornyn. McConnell has noted that he will be finishing out his term as Kentucky Senator, which will come to an end in 2027.

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