After freezing mid-sentence during a news conference on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81, is trying to quash speculation about his political future.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for McConnell told Politico that the longest-serving Senate leader of all time “appreciates the continued support of his colleagues, and plans to serve his full term in the job they overwhelmingly elected him to do.”
McConnell’s six-year term ends in 2026.
McConnell Missed Nearly Six Weeks After Fall
In April, the Kentucky Republican returned to the Senate floor nearly six weeks after suffering a concussion and a fractured rib in a fall at a Washington hotel.
Despite McConnell’s declared intention of serving the remainder of his term, some GOP senators are trying to figure out who might replace him.
“He comes out, loses his train of thought. And everybody’s asking: ‘What are you going to do about it?’ ” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told Politico.
“He’ll know when it’s time. He’s not going to put our caucus in harm’s way. If he didn’t think he can do it, I’m sure he’ll make that decision.”
Top Contenders to Succeed McConnell
Conventional political wisdom says that three loyal McConnell deputies — Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Conference Chair John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota — are among the top contenders to succeed him.
Earlier this year, McConnell saw his position challenged for the first time. However, he easily defeated Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, 37-10, in a leadership vote. McConnell then removed Scott from the Commerce Committee, one of Scott’s preferred assignments.