Capito, Ernst seek promotions in GOP Senate leadership

By Kelsey Brugger, Timothy Cama | 03/12/2024 06:41 AM EDT

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to step down has set off a Republican leadership scramble.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) at the Capitol in February. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Joni Ernst of Iowa are reaching for the next rungs in the Senate Republican leadership ladder — bids that could elevate GOP energy and environment policies in the upper chamber.

The leadership shuffle kicked off late last month when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he was stepping down, sparking bids by Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and John Cornyn of Texas for the Kentuckian’s spot and opening their leadership positions to fresh competition.

Capito — the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee and vice chair of the Republican conference — announced her bid Monday to chair the Republican Policy Committee, which would move her up a rung in GOP leadership. Ernst has held that spot since last year.


Calling the RPC the conference’s “policy and legislative ideas factory,” Capito posted Monday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “I am going to ask for the support of my colleagues to chair the RPC in the next Congress. It is critical that our conference advance conservative principles that Senate Republicans, hopefully in the majority, can implement next year.”