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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.

Go deeper

House Democrats to combine 2 key bills in push for voting rights

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a December news conference in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats the House Rules Committee was meeting Wednesday night to combine key provisions of two voting bills and pass the rule before sending it to the Senate for a vote.

Why it matters: Pelosi's announcement in a letter to Democrats comes a day after President Biden called for a change to the Senate's filibuster rules in an effort to pass voting rights legislation.

Jan 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Schumer finds loophole to advance elections reform package

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic leaders have found a mechanism to enable them to bypass an initial Republican filibuster and debate the party's sweeping election reform bills, according to a new leadership memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The strategy is the latest example of how Democrats are seeking new ways to try to bypass Senate procedures that are blocking their agenda. But the ultimate outcome will likely be the same: insufficient support to change the 60-vote threshold needed to pass sweeping voting rights reforms.

Updated 26 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.