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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 YoungMnuchin pulls out of Saudi conference On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference 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 ClintonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Republicans cancel airtime in swing Vegas district The Democratic Donald Trump is coming MORE atop the ticket.

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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 RomneyArizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue Trump changes tone on Saudi Arabia amid mounting pressure Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B MORE, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Congress should work with Trump and not 'cowboy' on Saudi Arabia, says GOP senator US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK 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 DonnellyDonnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Poll: Dems lead in Indiana, West Virginia Senate races, tied in Nevada 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 CochranThe Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam GOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race MORE (R-Miss.) in April — winning reelection.

It will also depend on the health of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate 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 SmithMinnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post Minnesota Dems worry about Ellison allegations as state AG race tightens Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas MORE (D-Minn.), who was appointed to replace Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the man poised to battle Dems from the White House Minnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post Former campaign aide to New Jersey governor says she was sexually assaulted by his ex-staffer 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 GardnerDemocrats must end mob rule GOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' Democrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die 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.