Ron Johnson leaves open door to running for Senate GOP leader

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) left the door open on Sunday to running for Senate GOP leader after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced his plans to retire from the top post.

NewsNation’s Chris Stirewalt asked Johnson on “The Hill Sunday” whether he would consider taking the job as the next Senate Republican leader, noting that he sent a letter to his GOP colleagues asking for a defined process for electing the new leader. Johnson said the letter was meant to encourage Republicans to come together to define their roles and the party’s goals.

“In terms of replacing the leader but what this letter is primarily about, you know — I don’t think people truly understand the profound dysfunction within Congress,” he said.

Johnson said that the GOP has not effectively counted Democrats’ goals in Congress and suggested McConnell was not being transparent enough.

“What Republicans have not done is effectively counter the destruction of the radical left, the destruction of the Democratic Party. That’s what we need to do. So what I asked for in this conference is let’s discuss, discuss a mission statement. Let’s establish goals,” he said.

“And then let’s figure out exactly the process for electing a new leader. I’m hoping in that discussion of mission statements, leaders will emerge that will embrace it. They’ll talk about how they’re going to have a much more collaborative process, utilize the talents within the conference. That hasn’t happened,” he said.

“We’ve had a leader that pretty well does things on his own, doesn’t tell the conference what he’s up to. By the time we find out it’s too late to reverse course,” Johnson continued.

Stirewalt then noted that he “did not hear a no in there” on whether Johnson would keep the door open to being the next leader of the Senate Republican conference.

NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.

Senate Republicans are now discussing who they should put forward as their next leader as three potential candidates have emerged: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) had also advised former President Trump to stay out of the leadership race in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

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