Mitch McConnell Stepping Down as Republican Senate Leader; Plans to Finish Term

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving Senate leader in history, announced Wednesday that he will step down from his position in November.

McConnell, who turned 82 last week, announced his decision in the well of the Senate  shortly after noon.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” he said. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

McConnell, who has served in his leadership position since 2015, stated that he is “not going anywhere,” and would finish his current senate term, which ends in January 2027.

“I still have enough gas in my tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics, and I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm with which they’ve become accustomed,” he said.

“As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.”

McConnell’s departure will set up a leadership election in the GOP conference with a number of likely candidates, most notably longtime Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), who is largely viewed as a moderate cut from the same cloth as McConnell.

Online polls, meanwhile, are showing that Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the people’s favorite for the position.

A new era of Republicans have increasing viewed McConnell’s handling of legislation, including the unpopular border bill and the national security supplemental package, as sharply out of step with their conservative views.


According to the Federalist’s Sean Davis, Senate insiders are saying McConnell’s surprise announcement today was “a desperate move to retain his grip on power” as fellow Republicans were moving to oust him.

“Even a growing number of moderates were angry at the chaos he was sowing in the conference,” one senior Senate GOP aide allegedly said.

An open rebellion against McConnell was in the works due to his “repeated sabotage of Republican priorities and border inaction,” the aide said.

Others told me McConnell’s move was entirely cynical, and an attempt to cling to power for another 8 months.


The House Freedom Caucus is calling on McConnell to step down “IMMEDIATELY.”

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks into the Senate chamber on February 28, 2024 in Washington, DC. McConnell announced Wednesday that he would step down as Republican leader in November. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)