McConnell will serve out full term through 2026

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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) says he has no plans to retire from the Senate before the end of his term in January 2027, dispelling speculation that he may leave Congress early after announcing his retirement as party leader.

McConnell says he plans to go in a “different direction” after serving as party leader for 18 years, the longest tenure in Senate history.

But he says he will continue to play an active role in the Senate, focusing on the debate within the Republican Party over how actively the United States should project power abroad.

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“I’m not leaving the Senate and I’m particularly involved in actually fighting back against the isolationist movement in my own party and some in the other as well and the symbol of that lately is, ‘Are we going to help Ukraine or not?’ And I think it’s extremely important that we do that,” he told Louisville radio host Terry Meiners in an interview.

McConnell announced in February that he planned to serve out the entirety of his seventh Senate term when he revealed that he would step down as party leader at year’s end.

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“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon,” McConnell told colleagues on the Senate floor Feb. 28. “I will complete the job my colleagues have given me until we select a new leader in November and they take the help next January.

“I will finish the job the people of Kentucky hired me to do,” he said.

Nevertheless, McConnell’s expected departure from leadership has fueled speculation that he may soon retire from the Senate — something McConnell has repeatedly said he will not do before his current term ends.

“I don’t know how may times I can say that,” he told Meiners when pressed on the subject Monday.

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McConnell also said in September of last year, after he froze up for a second time before television cameras during a moment that raised new questions about his health, that he would serve in the Senate through 2026.

“I’m going to finish my term as leader and I’m going to finish my Senate term,” he said at the time.

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