Senator McConnell to Step Down from Republican Leadership  

Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, that he would vacate his leadership post in November. McConnell, who has been in the U.S. Senate since he was elected in 1985, has served in the Senate Republican leadership for nearly two decades. McConnell said he intends to serve out the remainder of his term, which will end in 2027.  

Speculation grew that the Senator’s announcement was related to his health concerns. Last fall, the Senator had a concussion after a fall and experienced multiple facial freezes while giving public comments. However, both the Senator and aides have stated the decision was unrelated to his health.  

McConnell mentioned that the death of his wife’s youngest sister recently had triggered some introspection.  

“The end of my contributions are closer than I’d prefer,” Senator McConnell said. “Father time remains undefeated…there will be a time to reminisce, but not today,” he added. “It is time for the next generation of leadership.”  

Kentucky Republicans reacted to the news this week with their own tributes. Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman, McConnell’s former legal counsel, called his mentor the “most consequential leader in Senate history.” 

“Leader McConnell has singlehandedly made sure Kentucky punches above our weight, and his legacy of accomplishment can be seen in every corner of the Bluegrass State,” Coleman said. “My family cherishes Leader McConnell’s kindness and mentorship—shared with us time and time again. It will continue to be a high honor to work with Leader McConnell as we serve our Commonwealth and the families who call it home.” 

Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne also commented on the Kentuckian’s soon departure from Senate leadership.  

“Today’s announcement provides an opportunity to reflect on the fact that Leader McConnell is the most consequential Kentucky leader in modern history,” Osborne said. “His legacy as a Senate leader will live on long after he steps down and our entire nation is better off because of it. “Personally, I am sorry to see him leave a role he has served so well and leveraged to benefit so many,” he continued. “However, I wish him the absolute best in this next chapter.” 

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers also commented on the momentous departure.  

“Leader McConnell has been a tremendous leader in the U.S. Senate and in Kentucky and has helped change the body politic in Frankfort, putting Kentucky on a much better trajectory,” Stivers said. “He’s contributed significantly not only at the federal level but also at the state level. Being a leader of a chamber myself, I have great respect and admiration for the job he’s done.”