Jan 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. John Thune will seek re-election

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) speaks with reporters outside his office in the U.S. Capitol Building on January 04, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) speaks with reporters outside his office on Jan. 4. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Whip John Thune announced Saturday that he plans to run for a fourth term in 2022.

Why it matters: The second-ranking Senate Republican had been considering retirement, per the New York Times, setting off upheaval among members of the GOP who view Thune as a potential successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

  • McConnell, in an interview last month, urged Thune to run for re-election, saying: "Thune is an outstanding senator. He's done a great job as whip. ... It would be a real setback from the country and our party if he retires," NBC News reports.

Driving the news: "I’ve always promised that I would do the work, even when it was hard, uncomfortable or unpopular," Thune said in a statement out Saturday.

  • "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."

The big picture: Thune, 61, was first elected in 2004 when he beat then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

  • A combination of family concerns and the current political environment within the GOP prompted the senator to consider retirement, per the Times.

What he's saying: "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 way of life — safer; stronger and more prosperous," Thune said.

  • "South Dakota deserves a strong and effective senator who can deliver the results they expect. I am uniquely positioned to get that job done," he said.
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