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The 3 Republicans Who Are Likeliest to Succeed Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suffered a fall in March that required a five-day stay in the hospital, then froze at the podium during a news conference just over a month ago in what may or may not have been an unrelated incident.

But after a second freezing episode while speaking reporters Wednesday, questions about the 81-year-old Kentucky Republican’s health and fitness to serve in office are back in the news — especially as Republicans increasing ask similar questions about President Joe Biden, who will turn 81 in November.

According to Yahoo News Chief National Correspondent Jon Ward, three senators named John are the most likely replacements to fill the minority leader position, should McConnell reverse his early statements that he plans to finish out his term, which will end in January of 2025.

Ward believes the current minority whip, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, would be most likely to step into the role if McConnell steps aside.

Thune is 62 and has been in the Senate since 2005, serving as whip, the No. 2 Republican position in the Senate, since 2019. As the No. 2 man, it seems logical that he would be chosen to complete McConnell’s term for him if necessary.

Another logical possibility would be Sen. John Cornyn, who served as the Republican whip for the six years prior to Thune taking over.

The Texas Republican is 71 and has two more years under his belt as a senator than Thune, and Ward pointed out that he also experience leading the “campaign arm” that helps Republicans win senatorial elections, experience that Thune lacks.

The former associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court has previously been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee, as well.

But logic, as any regular reader of The Western Journal knows, does not always prevail in politics. If Thune or Cornyn couldn’t generate enough support from fellow Republicans to win the minority leader position — Thune perhaps because he could be considered too moderate, and Cornyn too conservative — a third John is waiting in the wings, Ward suggested.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso would typically be considered most likely to step into the whip position if Thune moves into the minority leader slot, but again, things don’t always work out the way people expect them to inside the Beltway.

Barrasso, also 71, was appointed to the Senate after Sen. Craig Thomas’ death from complications of leukemia in 2007 and later replaced Thune as head of the Senate Republican Conference when the latter became the Republican whip in 2019.

As Politico’s Burgess Everett wrote over 18 months ago, “When Mitch McConnell steps down as Senate GOP leader, which won’t happen anytime soon, John is sure to replace him.”

The unanswered question is which of the three Johns will get the nod. Or, of course, if any of them will, as there is still no indication from McConnell that he plans to do anything other than finish out his term.

His health could force the issue, however, according to two doctors who were asked by journalists to offer their opinions as to what could be ailing the minority leader.

Dr. Marc Siegel, a physician affiliated with New York University’s Langone Medical Center, suggested in a Wednesday interview with Fox News that the Republican Senate leader was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

“I have to tell you, at the top of that list, and again I haven’t examined him and I don’t have any background on this — except I’ve talked to some people in Congress and in the Senate — would be Parkinson’s disease.”

“That, in its later stages, can give you a freeze,” Siegel said of McConnell’s behavior, pointing out that the senator’s staffers hadn’t reacted with alarm bells.

McConnell froze publicly for a second time in just over a month during a function Wednesday in Covington, Kentucky.

The event followed an incident in which McConnell became similarly unresponsive in the halls of the Capitol.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta had a similar theory for McConnell’s difficulties in a CNN interview, though he left open a range of different possibilities.

“There’s a lot of things that can sort of come to mind,” he said.

Gupta also pointed out that McConnell’s aides hadn’t reacted with surprise, suggesting that the problems were “ongoing.”

“Someone who has a Parkinsonian-like condition, for example, whose medications are wearing off, or something like that,” he suggested. “That’s something that could sort of explain this behavior.”

Parkinson’s disease is a serious degenerative disease in which patients lose control over their nervous system, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A McConnell spokesperson has indicated that the 81-year old senator merely felt lightheaded, although he planned to consult with a physician following the incident.

  • Zeus Papadopoulos says:

    Senator Cruz. Case closed.

  • steve says:

    IT IS Time for mitch to go, RETIRE with all your money from Chiner.

  • Sam says:

    The list for potential Senate minority leader reads like a roster from a nursing home.

  • EZ says:

    put some young blood in there that isn’t past retirement age and corrupt already, “F” your deep state cronies

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