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Morning Business: Thune Steps Up

Senate Republicans meet at 12:30 today in the Mansfield Room for what is expected to be a smooth leadership election.[IMGCAP(1)]Sen. John Thune (S.D.) is running unopposed to replace Sen. John Ensign (Nev.) as the Republican Policy Committee chairman. Sens. Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Richard Burr (N.C.) are expected to speak on behalf of the first-term Republican. Hatch briefly considered running for the position but called the move “a fleeting thought— and threw his support behind Thune.Meanwhile, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) is running unopposed for vice chairwoman of the Conference, the job currently held by Thune. The openings in the Senate GOP hierarchy occurred after Ensign announced he would step down as Policy Committee chairman. Ensign shocked his colleagues when he acknowledged in a Tuesday news conference that he had an affair with a former campaign aide.

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