John Cornyn Launches Bid to Become Senate GOP Leader

( – After Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he is stepping down as the Republican Senate leader, the first person to announce that he would be running to take over McConnell’s position was Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

A day after McConnell gave a speech sharing his intent to step down in November, Cornyn released a statement asking fellow Senate Republicans to consider him as McConnell’s successor, stating that he’s “learned a lot” during his time in the Senate. Cornyn served as the Republican whip from 2013-2019, which is the second highest Republican in the Senate. He is currently in his fourth term in the Senate, having been elected in 2002.

The three main candidates who are expected to run for McConnell’s position are known as the “three Johns.” Sen. John Thune from South Dakota and John Barrasso from Wyoming are the other candidates. All three Johns have endorsed Trump as the Republican candidate for president, and Cornyn claims his votes aligned with Trump 92% of Trump’s time in office. However, opponents of Cornyn have noted that he was slow to endorse Trump, suggesting it would be “inappropriate” to endorse a candidate during the primaries, as well as expressing concerns that Trump would not be able to defeat Biden in the general election.

While promoting his candidacy, Cornyn highlighted his record of “seeking consensus” as well as suggesting he’s better at listening to colleagues than the other candidates are.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking, a nonpartisan group at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University ranked Cornyn as the “most effective Republican senator” from 2021-2023. Cornyn was also one of the top Republican fundraisers during the 2022 election cycle.

One of Cornyn’s biggest detractors is Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, who is considering a run for Cornyn’s seat in the 2026 primary. Paxton described Cornyn as “anti-Trump” and “anti-gun” after Cornyn’s announcement. Cornyn clapped back that it would be “hard to run from prison, Ken,” referring to Paxton’s legal issues over securities fraud and allegations of abuse during his time in office.

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