Todd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm

Todd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm
© Greg Nash

Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe scale of the Yemen crisis is unimaginable The Hill's Morning Report — Trump navigates challenges from all sides Tenn. Republicans to go on offense against Dem MORE (R-Ind.), a freshman senator from a battleground state, is talking to colleagues about becoming the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), according to Republican sources.

Young is discussing taking the helm of the Senate GOP campaign arm after helping Republicans keep their majority two years ago by defeating former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who was the heavy favorite initially in their 2016 race.

Many political prognosticators predicted that Democrats would take back control of the Senate in 2016 because Democratic voter turnout was expected to be higher than in midterm elections with presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton‘Prosperity and peace’ is the winning Republican theme for midterms Mueller recommends Papadopoulos be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison Poll: Dem opponent leads Scott Walker by 5 points MORE atop the ticket.


Democrats also had a favorable electoral map as Republicans had to defend 24 seats. 

Bayh had an early 20-point lead in the race as well as more than $9 million in his campaign account from his time in the Senate.

Young defied early predictions by defeating Bayh by 10 points, 52 percent to 42 percent.

“There are a lot of members who really like the idea of him doing it. He’s the giant-killer, he knocked off Evan Bayh when nobody thought he could do it with less money,” said a GOP source.

“He knows how to build a team, and he’s got a lot to offer. And he did all that during a presidential election year,” the source added. “A lot of members like the idea of him doing it because he has that background.” 

Young’s office declined to comment.

If he jumps in the race, Young could have an uncontested shot at the leadership position.

Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment Former spokeswoman defends Trump calling Omarosa ‘dog’: He’s called men dogs Cook Political Report moves 4 GOP seats to 'toss-up' category MORE, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Dem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment PETA calls out Trump for attacking Omarosa as a 'dog' MORE (R) in Utah, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate to head the Senate GOP campaign committee.

But it would be highly unusual for a freshman to take that job in his first year in Congress.

The rumor among GOP strategists is that Romney is “not super interested” in the position, but some of his supporters are pushing for him to consider it.

Young will get an early audition for the NRSC chairmanship as he tries to help Republicans win the seat now held by Democratic Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyThe Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Schumer to meet with Kavanaugh on Tuesday Supreme Court nomination reignites abortion fights in states MORE (Ind.).

The Republican senator is working to unify the party behind businessman and former state lawmaker Mike Braun, who won last month’s hard-fought GOP primary for a chance to take on Donnelly in November.

Young has introduced Braun’s team to his own finance staff and encouraged the state party committee to quickly embrace the new nominee.

It took months for Indiana Republicans to rally behind Richard Mourdock, the Senate Republican nominee in 2012, after he defeated incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) in the primary. That delayed party unity helped Donnelly win in the general election that year.

Republicans overall have a tougher map in 2020, with an expected 21 or 22 seats to defend, while Democrats will likely only have to defend 12 seats.

The number of Republican seats up for reelection will depend on Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) — who was appointed to replace retired Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranGOP Senate candidate doubles down on Robert E. Lee despite Twitter poll GOP Senate candidate polls followers on whether Robert E. Lee was hero or villain Mississippi courthouse named for Thad Cochran MORE (R-Miss.) in April — winning reelection.

It will also depend on the health of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Rand Paul’s Russia visit displays advancement of peace through diplomacy MORE (R-Ariz.), who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer and is up for reelection in 2022.

The number of Democratic seats up for reelection in 2020 will also depend on Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithOvernight Health Care: Senate takes up massive HHS spending bill next week | Companies see no sign of drugmakers cutting prices, despite Trump claims | Manchin hits opponent on ObamaCare lawsuit Companies report no signs of drugmakers cutting prices, despite Trump pledge Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (D-Minn.), who was appointed to replace Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart Franken#BelieveAllWomen, in the Ellison era, looks more like #BelieveTheConvenientWomen The Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries MORE (D-Minn.) in January, winning her reelection in November.

Young served three terms in the House, representing Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and an outstanding soccer player, who earned a varsity letter in the sport in college and won a state championship in high school.

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBusinesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job MORE (R-Colo.), the current NRSC chair, is expected to step down from the position at the end of this year to focus on his 2020 reelection in a state Clinton carried by 5 points in 2016.

Gardner told The Hill last week that he doesn't plan to run for another leadership position at year’s end.

“I am going to be focused on 2020,” he said. 

Updated at 6 p.m.