Senator John Thune becomes majority whip, number two Republican in U.S. Senate

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A South Dakota Senator is now the second most powerful figure in his conference. Senator John Thune (R-SD) is taking over for Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in his role as the Senate Majority Whip.

His new role puts him just behind Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the most powerful Republican in the upper chamber. This makes Thune the highest ranking Republican senator in South Dakota history.

Thune moves to whip from his previous position serving as chairman of the Republican Conference. This move comes as the GOP maintains control of the Senate, but loses control of the House.

“It’s an opportunity to elevate our South Dakota agenda to the national agenda. I look at it as a chance for me to be an advocate, to be a voice at the table on the issues that are important to our state,” said Thune.

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) will take over Thune’s old post. Thune will not assume his new role until the new Congress begins in January.