DSCC — still the job no one wants

Senate Democrats are struggling to find a leader for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) even as Republicans lay the groundwork to win back the upper chamber in 2014.

Party leaders say they are unconcerned that Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Health Care: GOP pushes stiff work requirements for food stamps | Johnny Isakson opens up about family's tragic loss to opioids | Republicans refuse to back vulnerable Dem's opioids bill | Dems offer new public option plan Lawmakers discuss Latino education gap The Hill's Morning Report: Hannity drawn into Cohen legal fight MORE (D-Colo.), who was offered the position by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism MORE (D-Nev.) earlier this month, has not yet made his decision, insisting that it was too early to think about 2014.

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Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Trump admin announces abstinence-focused overhaul of teen pregnancy program Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes MORE (Wash.), who successfully led the DSCC in the 2012 cycle, said she was “not at all” concerned that Bennet hadn’t made his decision, but offered no explanation as to why he’s taken three weeks to decide.

“We haven’t even finished this year,” she said.

And Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCan Mueller be more honest than his colleagues? Throwing some cold water on all of the Korean summit optimism House Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds MORE (N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democrat and a former DSCC chairman, insisted, “We have a chairman!” — Murray.

Bennet’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Democrats were in a similar position two years ago, when several senators — including Bennet — passed on the job out of concern it would be too difficult of a challenge. The party was expected to lose seats to the Republicans in the 2012 cycle.

But Murray took the position and picked up two seats for the party, in addition to increasing her stature among her colleagues.

Much like last cycle, the new committee chairman will play a significant role in fundraising and recruiting candidates to run in 2014. And whoever it is faces a difficult battle in protecting the Senate Democratic majority.

Republicans, meanwhile, elected Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranTrump VA pick faces challenge to convince senators he’s ready for job Overnight Finance: Senate repeals auto-lending guidance, shattering precedent with vote | House passes IRS reform bills | Senate GOP fears tax cut sequel Senate repeals auto-loan guidance in precedent-shattering vote MORE (R-Kan.) to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee and already have a strong recruit for one possible pickup: Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoFamily, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush Lawmakers propose boosting park funding with oil money Lawmakers trade barbs, torch Trump at DC soiree MORE announced a bid for West Virginia’s Senate seat.

Out of the four congressional campaign committees, the DSCC remains the only one without a leader.

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenators chart path forward on election security bill GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes MORE (Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSchumer to introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana Navy, Marines chiefs say no morale issues with transgender troops Dem senators call on FCC to protect against robocalls MORE (N.Y.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes EPA inspector general to probe Pruitt's use of taxpayer-funded security detail on trips to Disneyland, Rose Bowl game MORE (R.I.) have also been floated as options for the position, but a spokeswoman for Gillibrand said the senator isn’t interested. Klobuchar’s and Whitehouse’s offices did not respond to a request for comment.

Murray has been widely praised for her role in raising millions to help the DSCC defend vulnerable incumbents, and for successfully recruiting strong candidates to run in difficult races in red-leaning states like Wisconsin and Indiana — two seats that the Democrats won.

The new chairman’s task looks similarly daunting, with 20 Democratic incumbents up for reelection and at least four — Sens. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term MORE (D-W.Va.), Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit MORE (D-S.D.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law MORE (D-Iowa) — looking ripe for retirement.

Another 13 Republicans are up for reelection in 2014, and Democrats are sure to play offense in those races, but doing so will require strong recruits.

But a former Senate Democratic aide familiar with Reid’s thinking dismissed questions surrounding Bennet’s timeline, noting that Murray took her time in deciding to head the committee in November 2010.

“It’s far too early to start worrying about that,” the aide said.

The aide said that a decision needs to be made by the end of the year, but in the meantime, Reid can handle many of the traditional responsibilities of a DSCC chairman, including convincing vulnerable Senate incumbents to run again in 2014.

“The [DSCC] can run largely on autopilot while the senator decides what to do,” the aide said.