There Are More Men Named ‘John’ in the Race to Succeed McConnell Than Black Women in the Entire Senate

Mitch McConnell said this week he's resigning from his Senate leadership post and the political jockeying for his job reads like parody.

There Are More Men Named ‘John’ in the Race to Succeed McConnell Than Black Women in the Entire Senate
From left, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). Photo: Shutterstock

Welcome back to Barf Bag. 

On Wednesday, 82-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he’d step down from his leadership role in November. (Unfortunately, he plans to remain in the Senate until the end of his term in January 2027). Given that McConnell is the longest-serving Senate leader in history, who’s experienced multiple health issues in the past year, there’s already been plenty of reporting on who might replace him. And it appears the top contenders are three white guys named John, all with an “h.”

Before going any further, I must note that there’s currently just one (1) Black woman in the Senate: Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), who was appointed to the seat after Dianne Feinstein died in September. Butler isn’t running for a full term, so depending on who wins the California primary on Tuesday, the number could shrink to zero. The top candidates are Rep. Barbara Lee, a Black woman, and Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, but Schiff is polling first in recent surveys so it doesn’t look good for Lee. (There are exactly as many Black men in the Senate as Johns vying for McConnell’s job: Tim Scott (R) of South Carolina, Cory Booker (D) of New Jersey, and Raphael Warnock (D) of Georgia.)

Now back to the Senators John. Per the New Republic, the shadow race to succeed McConnell has been dominated by John Thune (S.D.) who’s 63, John Cornyn (Texas) who is 72, and John Barrasso (Wyo.) who is 71. Cornyn infamously pestered now-Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearings about whether the court wrongfully “invented” the right to marriage equality. Thune initially endorsed Scott in his failed presidential bid before kissing the ring and backing Donald Trump this week. And Barrasso just endorsed MAGA lunatic Kari Lake for Arizona Senate. Outlets sometimes refer to the group as “the three Johns,” which makes them sound like they’re clients of sex workers—and really, who’s to say they aren’t?

Cornyn has already formally announced his bid while the other two haven’t yet said whether they’re submitting their resumes. For what it’s worth, Trump likes a guy named Steve. Whoever gets the gig has really big shoes to fill: McConnell stacked the federal courts with the worst judges alive, blocked progress at every turn, and failed to hold the leader of the party accountable for crimes committed in public. Kind of hard to see how the next GOP leader could top that, but I think these graying white dudes will give it the old college try!

  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) questioned Hunter Biden during a deposition about his drug use and Biden, apparently aware of Gaetz’s own alleged drug use, punched him in the throat, rhetorically. [Business Insider]
  • Tyler Boebert, the eldest son of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), was arrested on multiple felony charges “after a recent string of vehicle trespass and property thefts” in Rifle, Colorado. [NBC News]
  • Trump asked a New York judge to grant him a payment plan for a $450 million judgment in his civil business fraud case and the judge said, lol no. [New York Times]
  • Republicans thought it was a good idea to have a Senator from Alabama—the state that has effectively banned IVF—to deliver the party’s response to Joe Biden‘s State of the Union next week. But hey, she’s a woman. [NBC News]
  • Mess alert: “Rep. Matt Rosendale Threatens To Sue After Ex-Senator Claims He Impregnated Staffer” [HuffPost]
  • When pressed about his abortion platform, presidential spoiler candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. asked the reporter what she thought it should be. [Washington Post]
  • Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) is suing the local Planned Parenthood affiliate based on a staged video from the esteemed folks at *checks notes* Project Veritas. [Missouri Independent]

This has been your weekly Barf Bag, thanks for reading! Barf Bag will be free until March 15 and then will be available to subscribers only beginning on March 22. Subscribe to Jezebel, if you haven’t already. 

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