Cortez Masto poised to become DSCC chair

Cortez Masto poised to become DSCC chair
© Greg Nash

Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Female Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado ask DSCC to rescind Hickenlooper endorsement Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE (Nev.) is a top candidate to assume the chairmanship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenProgressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir Democratic candidates are building momentum for a National Climate Bank MORE (Md.), the outgoing chairman of the DSCC, is pushing Cortez Masto’s name, and it appears her candidacy has strong momentum, according to Senate Democratic sources.

ADVERTISEMENT

Van Hollen praised Cortez Masto’s support for Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

“She did a very good job as head of the Women’s Senate Network this cycle,” he told The Hill, referring to the DSCC’s program to elect more women to office and reach out to female voters.

Democrats took over the House majority last week thanks largely to the support of college-educated suburban women, a crucial constituency to picking up Senate seats in 2020.

Democratic candidates appealed to this bloc by stressing health care as an issue in the fall campaign.

Cortez Masto also represents — and has ready access to the fundraising hub of — Las Vegas.

In April, she pledged to raise $1.5 million for Democratic candidates in Nevada.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBarr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks Harry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info MORE (Nev.) hand-picked her to run for his seat in 2016.

Cortez Masto said she’s talking to colleagues about the DSCC job.

“I’m having conversations now and I don’t have anything further to say until we have a final answer,” she said.

2020 is shaping up to be a good year for Senate Democrats.

Republicans will have 22 seats to defend, including a special election in Arizona for the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE’s (R) seat.

The GOP will have to defend two seats in states won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGiuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Sanders hits 1 million donors Democrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas MORE in 2016: Colorado and Maine.

Depending on the outcome of the recount in the Florida Senate race and the runoff in Mississippi, Senate Republicans will control 51 to 53 seats next Congress.

Van Hollen touted Cortez Masto during a meeting with Democratic colleagues Wednesday afternoon.

He said she would be a good pick unless anyone else was interested, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

When Van Hollen looked around the room to gauge the possibility of competing interest, no one jumped up to throw their hat in the ring, according to the source.

Van Hollen declined to comment on his conversations with colleagues.

“I don’t think there’s anything official yet so I’m not going to comment on it right now,” he said.

Van Hollen told The Hill on Tuesday that he’s not interested in serving another election cycle as DSCC chairman. 

Some colleagues floated the possibility that Van Hollen could serve back-to-back stints because they thought he did a good job. He previously served two cycles as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a member of the House.

Other previous DSCC chairmen said they weren’t interested in coming back to head the Senate Democrats’ fundraising arm.

“I’m out. You can put me down as a definite no,” said Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocratic senators quietly hope Biden wins over rivals GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign at end of year Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE (D-Mont.), who chaired the panel in the 2016 cycle.

The DSCC chairman’s job has been a difficult one to fill, as it requires a huge time commitment.

But it can be worth it, as Democrats usually reward whoever shoulders the burden.

Van Hollen, for example, was given a coveted slot on the Appropriations Committee.