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Can a non Trump guy lead the Republican Party in the Senate?

Sadly Trump is not going away. However a Republican Party that thinks for itself and is not beholden to him is a huge winner. Fingers crossed.


Sen. John Thune Says He Will Run for Re-Election

South Dakota Republican, who has clashed with Trump, is seen as a possible successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell


‘I’m asking South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue serving them in the U.S. Senate,’ John Thune said in a tweet.


By Lindsay Wise, WSJ

Updated Jan. 8, 2022 1:56 pm ET



WASHINGTON— Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Saturday he will run for re-election this year.


He is seen as a leading contender to succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), whenever Mr. McConnell chooses to depart.


Mr. Thune drew the wrath of Donald Trump for pushing back on the former president’s false claims that the election had been stolen from him. Mr. Thune’s decision about whether to run had been closely held and much anticipated in Washington, where it was seen, in part, as a gauge of Mr. Trump’s hold on the party.


“I’m asking South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue serving them in the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Thune said in a tweet.


The lanky, easygoing Mr. Thune is popular among Senate Republicans. In the weeks leading up to his decision, his colleagues launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to encourage him to run again, people familiar with the effort said. Other senators viewed as potentially replacing Mr. McConnell as Senate GOP leader include John Cornyn (R., Texas) and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.).


Mr. Thune, 61 years old, angered Mr. Trump after the 2020 election, when the South Dakota senator colorfully predicted that any attempt to block ratification of President Biden’s win at a joint session of Congress would “go down like a shot dog.”


Mr. Trump responded by calling on Twitter for a primary challenger to oust Mr. Thune. He accused Mr. Thune of being a RINO, or “Republican in name only,” and urged South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem to challenge him. She declined.


Before running for Senate, Mr. Thune served three terms as his state’s sole member of the House.


In 2004, he narrowly unseated the Senate’s incumbent Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, by a margin of 4,508 votes. It was the first time in 52 years that a Senate party leader had lost re-election. Mr. Thune ran unopposed in 2010 and won his third Senate term in 2016.


Now Mr. Thune serves as Mr. McConnell’s top lieutenant, the Senate GOP whip. In that role, he’s tasked with ensuring the party leadership has enough votes to pass or block legislation. Occasionally that puts him in the position of having to take tough votes himself.


Recently, Mr. Thune helped party leaders push through agreements on raising the debt ceiling, despite the opposition of many GOP senators. He was one of 11 Republican senators who voted to end debate on a short-term debt-limit extension offered by Mr. McConnell in October, and again in December, when he was one of 14 Republicans who voted to set up a fast-track debt limit procedure negotiated by Mr. McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.). That process required a simple majority in the Senate to raise the limit, rather than the 60 votes typically needed.


Write to Lindsay Wise at lindsay.wise@wsj.com

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