Wicker will lead Senate Republican campaign committee
© Greg Nash

Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Lawmakers demand answers on Border Patrol data breach Senators call on McConnell to bring net neutrality rules to a vote MORE (R) of Mississippi has been elected as the new chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. 

The Mississippi senator defeated Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R) of Nevada during Republican leadership elections Thursday morning.

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“I am thankful for the confidence and the support of my colleagues. I intend to roll up my sleeves immediately to ensure that we have the resources available to preserve our Republican majority. This Senate Republican leadership team is ready to go to bat for the American people, and I am proud to be a part of it," Wicker said in a statement.  

With his election, Wicker becomes the sixth-ranking member of the Senate GOP leadership. 

He will take over for Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale Senate votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (R-Kan.), who helped the party pick up at least eight Democratic seats and possibly nine, if Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Lobbying world MORE (D-La.) loses her runoff election next month.

The map is much more difficult for Republicans in 2016, when 24 GOP seats and only 10 Democratic seats will be up for reelection.

Some GOP insiders thought Heller would win the race, after he pledged to target home-state colleague, Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenators briefed on US Navy's encounters with UFOs: report Key endorsements: A who's who in early states Trump weighs in on UFOs in Stephanopoulos interview MORE (D-Nev.), for defeat in the next election cycle.

Heller has urged Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) to run against Reid in two years.