“I always promised that I would get the job done, even when it was difficult, uncomfortable, or unpopular. That job continues, so after careful consideration and prayer, and with the support of my family, I am asking the South Dakotans for the opportunity to continue to serve them in the United States Senate, “he said in a statement.
The 61-year-old is currently serving his third term as a South Dakota senator and is widely viewed as the likely successor to the longest-serving Republican Senate leader in history, Mitch McConnell.
He has been at odds with former President Donald Trump before, most recently when Trump encouraged current South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to run against Thune in the election. Thune had been one of the leading Republicans to speak out in favor of accepting the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, drawing Trump’s ire.
He said he had been waiting for weeks to make his decision as he had been struggling with the prospect of seeking another six-year term.
Ahead of the crucial 2022 midterm elections, there have been some long-standing, high-profile established Republicans who have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2022 and will retire once their term ends. Those Republicans include Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Richard Burr of North Carolina.
Still, Republicans haven’t been as affected by House retirements as Democrats, putting the Republican Party in a good position to defend its seats as it takes other seats in Congress.
Thune, a former House of Representatives legislator and DC lobbyist, was first elected to the Senate in November 2004, defeating then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat.
He ran unopposed in November 2010 and won his third Senate term in 2016.
Thune has held the Republican whip role in the Senate since 2019.
This story has been updated.