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McConnell To Step Down as U.S. Senate GOP Leader

Sen. Mitch McConnell

by Ariana Figueroa, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
February 28, 2024

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November, he said on the Senate floor Wednesday, announcing the end of a run as party leader that broke records for its length and shaped American politics over nearly two decades.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell said. “It’s time for the next generation of leadership.”

McConnell, who turned 82 last week, cited the death of his wife’s sister several weeks ago, as an event that prompted him to think about his future.

“When you lose a loved one, particularly at a young age, there’s a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process,” he said.

McConnell has faced increasing pressure to endorse the GOP presidential front-runner, Donald Trump. The two have a tense relationship that reached a breaking point following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after then-President Trump encouraged supporters to disrupt the certification of electoral votes in the 2020 election.

Senate Republicans will select a new leader in November. Possible McConnell successors include Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and former Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas.

Thune recently endorsed Trump, following earlier endorsements by Barrasso and Cornyn.

McConnell, who first arrived in the Senate in 1984 and became Republican leader in 2007, said he is “not going anywhere” until a new Republican leader is tapped. His Senate term is set to end January 2027.

“I love the Senate,” McConnell said. “It’s been my life.”

Kentucky’s longest-serving senator has shaped the federal judiciary system, including by leading Senate confirmation of 234 lifetime appointments to the federal bench. He played an important role in establishing a conservative U.S. Supreme Court by blocking Democratic then-President Barack Obama from appointing a justice before the 2016 presidential election.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.





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