Thun is widely seen as a potential successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his decision to run again is a blessing to party leaders, who have pressured him not to retire. But it wasn’t clear for several months if Thon would run again, as he was reportedly balancing the family’s concerns.
Former President Donald Trump has called South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem a primary in Thun, after predicting that House Republicans’ efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election “will crumble like a hound.” However, Naim refused to do so publicly.
In a statement following his announcement, Republican National Senate Committee Chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla) praised and endorsed Thune’s decision — a move the committee is taking with current GOP senators.
“John Thon has served the people of South Dakota with modest strength from his first day in the Capitol, and the National Security Council is proud to endorse his re-election in 2022,” Scott said. Promoted to leadership positions, Senator Thune has given a huge voice to farmers, ranchers, families, and job creators in South Dakota.
With Thun’s announcement on Saturday and a re-election announcement expected from Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) in the coming days, the Senate is unlikely to see more retirements this year. A total of five Republican senators and one Democratic senator, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, plan to leave Congress at the end of 2022.
The 61-year-old Thun was elected to the Senate in 2004, defeating then-Democratic leader Tom Daschle. As of the end of September, Thune had $14.8 million in cash.