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 YoungIvanka Trump to meet with GOP senators to discuss paid family leave legislation Trade official warns senators of obstacles to quick China deal Senators reintroduce bill to punish Saudis for Khashoggi killing 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 ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Sarah Sanders says she was interviewed by Mueller's office Trump: I believe Obama would have gone to war with North Korea 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 RomneyTrump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love Trump religious adviser calls anti-Trump evangelicals 'spineless morons' MORE, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOrrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Utah Senate votes to scale back Medicaid expansion | Virginia abortion bill reignites debate | Grassley invites drug execs to testify | Conservative groups push back on e-cig crackdown 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 DonnellyOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks 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 CochranTop 5 races to watch in 2019 Bottom Line Races Dems narrowly lost show party needs to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy MORE (R-Miss.) in April — winning reelection.

It will also depend on the health of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers wait for Trump's next move on border deal Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona 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 SmithContractor back pay not included in shutdown deal Push to include contractor back pay in funding deal hits GOP roadblock Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt MORE (D-Minn.), who was appointed to replace Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenVirginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 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 GardnerBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt Lawmakers eager for 5G breakthrough 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.