McConnell’s Potential Successor Makes Significant Move

( – Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hasn’t announced any plans to leave his congressional seat, but speculations have pointed to the possibility that this term might be his last. Rumors are growing that Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) is preparing to take McConnell’s spot, and he just made a significant move that could make or break his bid to become the upper chamber’s new minority leader.

Clearing the Path

McConnell has made clear that he intends to finish out his current term, which ends in 2027, but he hasn’t mentioned his plans beyond that point. The 81-year-old lawmaker has fallen under increased scrutiny in the wake of a concussion he sustained in March 2023, which has triggered multiple 20- to 30-second episodes of disorientation and unresponsiveness — two of which have occurred while he was speaking publicly in front of a camera.

Some of McConnell’s colleagues have expressed uncertainty about his health despite his assertion that he’s been medically cleared for work. The Kentucky senator seems reluctant to leave Congress, and his peers appear to be approaching the subject of his replacement delicately. Still, rumors have shed a spotlight on a few potential lawmakers who might be seeking the position as soon as McConnel does finally leave. Newsweek lists former GOP Whip John Cornyn (TX), Senate Minority Whip John Thune (SD), and Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso (WY) as three possible contenders.

Barrasso’s Significant Move

Setting himself apart from Cornyn and Thune, Barrasso has given Donald Trump his public endorsement for US president. He recently stated that “America was better off” back when the MAGA leader was in office. Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle in May 2023 that he didn’t think the 45th president had a chance in the general election. POLITICO shared the same month that Thune went so far as to endorse one of Trump’s opponents, naming Tim Scott as his personal choice.

Barrasso’s chances of becoming McConnell’s successor could depend, at least in part, on the number of senators who support his move. At least 18 of his peers have also expressed their support for Trump, according to Business Insider, but with 100 members on the floor, that means 81 additional senators are still either undecided or hoping to elect someone new. The upper chamber’s makeup could see some changes after the 2024 elections, as well, with 34 seats going on the ballots — Barrasso’s being one of them. His endorsement of Trump could affect his outcome there as well.

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