March 1, 2024 |

Photo – Mitch McConnell – Courtesy Wikipedia

In Washington, D.C., the “three Johns” are said to be in the race to succeed Mitch McConnell as the senate GOP leader.

The 82-year-old McConnell said this week that he’ll end his nearly two-decades long run as the party’s leader after the presidential election in November.

One of the three names floated as a possible replacement is Sen. John Barrasso. The Republican from Casper, Wyoming ranks third in GOP leadership and now serves as the message maker for the Republican Caucus in his role as Conference Chairman.

Sen. Barrasso, who has held his seat in the senate since 2007, does not appear to be in a hurry to take up McConnel’s mantle. He told the Cowboy State Daily this week that his primary “focus remains the people of Wyoming and securing a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and a Republican in the White House.”

The two other “Johns’ considered to be in the running for McConnell’s post are Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas. Less coy than Barrasso, Cornyn has already tossed his name into contention.

The third “John” is Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the #2 Republican in the U.S. Senate. Thune, who has been at odds with President Trump over the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol, appeared to make amends on Monday before McConnel announced he was stepping down as leader. Thune endorsed Trump for president in 2024 on Monday.

Senator Barrasso announced his endorsement of Trump in early January during an appearance on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Meanwhile, former President Trump encouraged Steve Daines of Montana to run for GOP leader. A report in Politico indicates that Trump was prompting Daines to go after the top GOP spot in the senate even before the aging McConnel announced his decision to step down later this year.

In an interview on Thursday, Daines said he’d “thanked” Trump for the encouragement and didn’t rule out a run for leader. But he shied away from making any firm commitments.

Trump is likely to play a role in selecting a new Republican leader over the next few months.

In an interesting wrinkle, Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky would be an “incredible successor” to the stodgy McConnell. In a post on X, Kennedy wrote, “We need representation who will prioritize American wellness over all else,” Kennedy continued. “I believe @RandPaul would be an incredible successor. He’s shown great judgment and has the grit to put hardworking Americans first.”

Meanwhile, at the U.S. border town of Eagle Pass on Thursday, former President Donald Trump called the influx of illegal immigrants the “Joe Biden Invasion”.

Also Thursday, the White House shirked responsibility saying it has “done the work.”

All part of election year 2024.

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