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Cornyn had previously served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Thune had reportedly been considering a challenge to Cornyn for the whip spot.

Prior to serving as Conference chairman, Thune served as vice chairman of the Conference and also was chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. 

Meanwhile, the race to become the next chairman of the NRSC has begun to heat up. Sen. Jerry MoranJerry MoranOvernight Tech: Bill protecting online reviews heads to Obama | New addition to FCC transition team | Record Cyber Monday Overnight Finance: Trump expected to pick Steven Mnuchin for Treasury | Budget chair up for grabs | Trump team gets deal on Carrier jobs Congress passes bill protecting online customer reviews MORE (R-Kan.) is running for the job and Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanGOP debates going big on tax reform Who is Tim Ryan? A closer look at Pelosi’s challenger Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates MORE (R-Ohio) is also considering a bid.