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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 MoranYahoo reveals new details about security A guide to the committees: Senate Verizon, Yahoo slash merger deal by 0M over data breaches MORE (R-Kan.) is running for the job and Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanConquering Trump returns to conservative summit ­ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Ohio) is also considering a bid.