Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), the number two Republican and viewed as a successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced he would run for reelection on Saturday, ending months of speculation.
“South Dakota deserves a strong and effective senator who can deliver the results they expect. I am uniquely positioned to get that job done, and I look forward to earning the support of all South Dakotans in the 2022 election for U.S. Senate,” Thune said.
“Each time I’ve asked South Dakotans for the opportunity to represent them in Congress, I’ve done so because of a fundamental desire to do whatever I could to make their lives and our way of life – safer, stronger, and more prosperous,” he continued.
“I’ve always promised that I would do the work, even when it was hard, uncomfortable, or unpopular,” the 61-year-old added. “That work continues, which is why after careful consideration and prayer, and with the support of my family, I’m asking South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue serving them in the U.S. Senate.”
— John Thune (@johnthune) January 8, 2022
Until his announcement, speculation swirled for months that Thune would retire. The New York Times reported last month that Thune was debating giving up his Senate seat due to a combination of “family concerns” and the “grip” former President Donald Trump has on the party.
However, Senate Republican colleagues such as Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and McConnell tried to convince Thune to run for reelection. McConnell told the Times, “I certainly hope that he will run for re-election, and that’s certainly what I and others have been encouraging him to do all year long.”
Cramer, who has known Thune for years, said, “I let him know how much I appreciate him … He knows both Dakotas really need him.”
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.