Senate Republicans kick off their food fight for next leader

Senate Republicans kick off their food fight for next leader

The fight to succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is on, with the “Three Johns”—Texan John Cornyn, South Dakota’s John Thune, and Wyoming’s John Barrasso— lining up against the MAGA wing of the party to determine the future of the Republican conference. 

In the war of the Johns, Cornyn was first out of the gate to announce his bid and has been aggressively pursuing the top spot. 

“I’ve been telling people for a long time now that I was interested in succeeding Mitch,” Cornyn told Punchbowl News. “It’s no secret.” 

Cornyn went on to point out that he called “dibs” on the job directly to Thune when Thune entered the leadership team as minority whip. Cornyn is nothing if not baldly transparent in his ambitions, and he’s not subtle about his politics, which is one reason he’s the likeliest of “The Johns” to rise to the top. The others haven’t really been tearing the place up with ambition or toadying like Cornyn.

The Texas senator has been instrumental in fighting everything from sensible gun measures intended to protect survivors of domestic violence to any kind of immigration reform. In fact, he’s defined the whole strategy of GOP obstruction on immigration with his infamous “Cornyn Con,” continually participating in bipartisan talks on immigration reform and always blocking any legislation that emerges. Cornyn’s biggest challenge in getting the job is going to be his long-standing allegiance to Mitch McConnell, and the MAGA crowd is set to exploit it.

While Cornyn preens, an extremist group of senators wants the Senate to be more like the MAGA-happy House, and they are itching to get their hands on leadership.

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