Republican Sen. John Thune Considering Retirement

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Sen. John Thune (R-SD) speaks to the media following a Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on September 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. Thune spoke on the debt limit and the Afghanistan. Thune was joined by fellow Republican leaders. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Republican Sen. John Thune (SD) may retire and not run in the 2022 midterms.

“Obviously, the opportunities in leadership is a consideration — for sure, it’s a consideration,” Thune said. “But there are lots of other (factors) too… I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I think you gotta get into family considerations, personal considerations. And obviously it’s a place where we can make a difference, and that’s why you do it.”

When asked “what he’s struggling with,” Thune explained a Senate term is six years. “It’s a six-year commitment,” he said, reportedly noting “he and his wife are having conversations now about another run before making a final decision sometime in the fall.”

Thune’s retirement would add one more costly seat Republicans would have to defend with a limited amount resources in 2022. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) are also considering retiring while Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) have already committed to retiring.

Overall, according to the 2022 Senate midterm map, the GOP’s resources are spread over a total of 20 Senate races. The Democrats, meanwhile, have 14 seats up for reelection but only six of them are considered highly contested in battle ground states.

Even with the challenges, Senate Republican reelection chief Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) told Business Insider in August, “We’re going to take the majority back.”

“We are the party that believes in opportunity, in jobs, school choice. We are pro-law enforcement. We’re not for what the Biden administration is doing with regard to open borders,” he explained. “So that’s what we’re focused on.”

The good news for Republicans is that President Joe Biden’s approval ratings are so low (39 percent), they may impact statewide races.

For instance, Biden’s approval rating seems to be dragging down 25 out of 27 seats in 18 battleground states. Additionally, in 12 out of 13 races where Republicans currently occupy the seat, Biden has negative approval numbers. In seats currently held by a Democrat, 13 out of 14 seats face Biden’s underwater approval rating.

Biden’s sinking numbers throughout America are important because a president typically benefits candidates from the same party down ticket. For instance, if the 2022 midterms were held today, Biden would be of negative help to down ticket Democrats.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø 


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