Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) announced Tuesday his bid for Senate Republican Conference chairman, shortly after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the current chairman, announced his intention to step down in January.

I am thankful for the time I have had to work beside Senator Alexander at the leadership table and I am grateful that he will remain here in the Senate for years to come, Thune said in a news release.

At this time I am announcing my intention to seek the support of my Senate Republican colleagues to serve them as the next Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

Thunes announcement came less than two hours after Alexander announced on the Senate floor his plans to step down. Thune currently holds the No. 4 spot in the Senate Republican leadership as Republican Policy Committee chairman. 

Thunes decision to run for Alexanders current spot likely indicates he will not run for Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz) spot when Kyl finishes his Senate term. Kyl announced in February that he would not run for relection.