John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, will run for reelection to a fourth term

John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, will run for reelection to a fourth term
Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota speaks at a GOP news conference alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AFP
  • Sen. John Thune, the GOP minority whip, will run for reelection to a fourth term in 2022.
  • "I'm asking South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue serving them," he said on Saturday.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the upper chamber and a close ally of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, will run for reelection for a fourth term after GOP leaders launched an all-out offensive to keep him in the legislative body.

"I'm asking South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue serving them in the U.S. Senate," the senator said in a statement on Twitter. "South Dakota deserves a strong and effective senator who can deliver the results they expect. I am uniquely positioned to get that job done, and I look forward to earning the support of all South Dakotans in the 2022 election for US Senate."

The senator in recent months informed associates that he was considering retirement, according to The New York Times, pointing to the commitments that come with congressional service and privately voicing reservations with former President Donald Trump's continued stranglehold over the GOP.

However, despite Republican optimism about the November midterm elections, the lingering influence of Trump loomed over his decision in seeking reelection, according to The Times.

When Trump pushed for party members to back his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election and challenge the certification of now-President Joe Biden's victory, Thune was critical of efforts by a contingent of House conservatives to acquiesce to such demands.


"I think the thing they got to remember is it's not going anywhere. I mean, in the Senate, it would go down like a shot dog. I just don't think it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be," the senator said at the time.

Trump proceeded to lash out at Thune, calling him a "RINO," or Republican in name only, a pejorative generally reserved for members of the party who aren't considered to be true conservatives.

"RINO John Thune, "Mitch's boy", should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn't like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!" Trump wrote on Twitter just days before his account was permanently disabled after the January 6 insurrection.

In recent weeks, McConnell — who has been on the outs with Trump for months — had worked hard to keep the senator in the upper chamber, according to The Times.

Thune — who gained national attention when he narrowly defeated then-Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004 — has long been seen as a natural successor to McConnell in the coming years.


This story has been updated.