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Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has been out of the public eye for weeks, following a serious fall that hospitalized him. Now multiple sources confirm that Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota are actively reaching out to fellow Republican senators in efforts to prepare for an anticipated leadership vote — a vote that would occur upon announcement that McConnell would be retiring from his duties as leader, and presumably the Senate itself.
One source says that Cornyn has been particularly active in his preparations, taking fellow senators with whom he has little in common to lunch in attempts to court them.
Requests are being targeted at a plethora of conservative senators, including the sixteen who voted to delay the leadership election earlier this year, a proxy for opposition to McConnell’s leadership. Rick Scott, the Florida senator and former NRSC head who challenged McConnell, ultimately received ten protest votes. These members could prove key to determining the next Republican leader. Queries are also being made internally about the rules regarding replacement, and how the contest would be structured given the lack of an obvious heir apparent.
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