Gardner's chief of staff tapped for Senate GOP campaign director

Gardner's chief of staff tapped for Senate GOP campaign director
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE’s (R-Colo.) chief of staff is poised to become the new executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), a spokesman for the senator confirmed.

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Chris Hansen will be tasked with helping to expand the Senate majority as Republicans play offense with a favorable map in 2018. Republicans currently hold 51 seats and are expected to gain one more in next month’s Louisiana Senate runoff. Roll Call first reported the news. 

Gardner was tapped NRSC chairman on Wednesday, replacing Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHillicon Valley: Trump reportedly weighing executive action on alleged tech bias | WH to convene summit on online extremism | Federal agencies banned from buying Huawei equipment | Lawmakers jump start privacy talks The Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? Lawmakers jump-start talks on privacy bill MORE (R-Miss.). In 2014, the Colorado Republican defeated then-Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down Democrats hope some presidential candidates drop out — and run for Senate  MORE (D-Colo.) in one of the top races of the cycle.

Hansen managed Gardner’s 2014 Senate campaign and has previously worked on his House campaign. He also helped on Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Colo.) 2012 reelection race.

Fresh off a tough cycle where they defended 24 seats and lost only 2 seats, Republicans have a much more favorable map. Democrats are defending 25 seats in 2018 and 10 of those are states carried by President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE last week. Republicans will be on defense in Nevada following Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAre Democrats turning Trump-like? The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE’s victory and Democrats holding onto Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason Reid2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Panel: How Biden's gaffes could cost him against Trump MORE’s seat. 

Republicans will be hoping to pick up enough seats in 2018 for a filibuster-proof majority, or holding 60 seats in the upper chamber.