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Bottom Line: McConnell to leave role as Senate Republican Leader

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday he plans to step down from his role as U.S. Senate Republican Leader in November 2024.

McConnell is the longest serving Senate leader in history. While he is stepping down from his leadership position, the Kentucky Senator plans to serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027.

The Kentuckian was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and has been elected leader of his party since 2006 and served as the majority leader from 2015-2021, when the GOP has control of the chamber.

“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 in his prepared remarks. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.”

When discussing his decision, McConnell cited the recent death of his wife’s youngest sister as a moment that prompted introspection, adding the end of his contributions as leader of his party are “closer than I’d prefer.”

“I love the Senate,” he said in his prepared remarks. “It has been my life. There may be more distinguished members of this body throughout our history, but I doubt there are any with more admiration for it.”

But, he added, “Father Time remains undefeated. I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues would remember my name. It is time for the next generation of leadership.”

Reacting to the news Wednesday, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts made the following statement:

“On behalf of the business community, I want to thank Leader McConnell for his tireless efforts leading the Senate and always putting Kentuckians first. Because of his leadership, Kentucky has had a front row seat to his historic impact and the Commonwealth is grateful.”

—By Jacqueline Pitts, Kentucky Chamber