McConnell to run for GOP leader regardless of election's outcome
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE will run to remain the Senate's top Republican next year, even if Republicans lose the upper chamber. 

David Popp, a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican, confirmed that McConnell is planning to run to be leader of the Senate Republican Conference no matter the outcome of Tuesday's election. The battle for control of the Senate is running down to the wire, with roughly six seats still too close to call.
 
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If Republicans keep control of the Senate, McConnell would be set to retain the majority leader position. If they lose, McConnell would be poised to become the minority leader, a position he held for roughly eight years before Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. 
 
A McConnell aide also confirmed his plans to CNN. 
No GOP senator has publicly expressed an interest in challenging McConnell, and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle With religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown MORE's (Utah) plan to challenge Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump’s infrastructure plan may slip to next month Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism Trump's infrastructure team to huddle with senators MORE (Wyo.) as the Senate GOP policy chairman was quickly quashed earlier this year. The leadership elections for 2017–2018 Congress are expected to take place later this year. 
 
"We just completed a Senate Republican Conference in which we basically reconfirmed the precedent with regard to partial terms and their impact on the three-term limit to some of our leadership positions and committee chairs," McConnell said earlier this year. 

The move means no member of the current Senate GOP leadership team will have to step down in 2017.

Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats on Tuesday. Democrats need to pick up five seats — or four if they also retain the White House — to gain back control of the majority.