Thune takes run to replace McConnell pub­lic: ‘I hope to be’ leader

Sen. John Thune (R‑SD) end­ed any doubt that he is vying to replace Mitch McConnell (R‑KY) on Mon­day after the minor­i­ty leader announced his retire­ment last week.
Thune, who has served as the Repub­li­can whip since 2019, soft-launched his cam­paign on Thurs­day by acknowl­edg­ing he would sit down with Sen­ate col­leagues to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a run but held off on mak­ing a for­mal announce­ment.
He came off the side­lines on Mon­day, how­ev­er, telling local news out­lets in his home state of South Dako­ta that he wants to be the next GOP leader when McConnell steps down in Novem­ber.

“I hope to be, and I’m going to do every­thing I can to con­vince my col­leagues, they’re the vot­ers. They’re the ones who will ulti­mate­ly make the deci­sion,” he tol …