After gains, Cornyn likely to stay on as head of NRSC

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats press for action on election security On The Money: NY prosecutors subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns | Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms | Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum | Trump faces dwindling leverage with China Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms MORE is likely to sign up for another election cycle as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, say GOP sources.

Cornyn has won plaudits from colleagues for his fundraising and the gain of six Republican Senate seats on Election Day.

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NRSC spokesman said Cornyn won’t make a final decision for another few days, but Senate GOP aides widely expect him to take the helm in 2012. Aides say he wants to help Republicans win control of the Senate, a realistic prospect in an election cycle when 21 Democrats — and two independents allied with the Democrats — face reelection.

“He's considering it but is taking a few days with his family and will be talking to his colleagues in the days ahead,” said Brian Walsh, NRSC spokesman.

Under Cornyn’s leadership, the committee raised about $93 million between the beginning of last year and mid-October. The committee raised $78.2 million during a similar span in the 2008 election cycle and $77.9 in the 2006 cycle.

The committee raised $14.2 million in October, the best fundraising month for the committee since the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act.

Cornyn closed the fundraising gap with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which outraised the NRSC by about $70 million in 2008.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who is facing reelection in 2012, has praised Cornyn’s work.

Hutchison told The Houston Chronicle that Cornyn did a “tremendous job.”

Former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) has even floated Cornyn’s name as a promising presidential candidate in 2012.

“Cornyn has been NRSC chairman and has done a very effective job with it,” Martinez told The Hill in a telephone interview last month. “He’s raised a lot of money and made contacts throughout the country.”

Some conservatives, however, have criticized Cornyn for not doing more to help Tea Party-favored candidates such as Christine O’Donnell. They have questioned the failure to pick up more seats, especially the one held by Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' Gabbard drives coverage in push to qualify for October debate Bennet launches first TV ads in Iowa MORE (D) in Colorado.

Some critics have also questioned his decision to pour $8 million into California, a staunchly liberal state, in an effort to defeat Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.).

Marc A. Thiessen, a visiting fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, called the move a gamble in a recent Washington Post op-ed.

“This gamble comes at a cost,” Thiessen wrote. “The NRSC's $8 million investment in California dwarfs its spending in any other state.”

Thiessen noted that, “by the time the election is over, the committee estimates it will have spent roughly $6 million in Colorado, $5.5 million in Pennsylvania, $5 million in Illinois, $5 million in Washington State, $3.2 million in West Virginia, $2.5 million in Kentucky, $2 million in Nevada, and $1 million in Alaska.”

Earlier this year, Cornyn took flack from Tea Party conservatives for supporting more centrist candidates in GOP primaries in Colorado, Delaware, Florida and Kentucky.

The Tea Party-backed candidates who won the nomination went on to triumph in the general election in Florida and Kentucky but fell short in Colorado and Delaware.

Cornyn’s allies like to point out that Republicans were expected to lose seats in the 2010 cycle when he took over the committee after the 2008 election.

Cornyn downplayed the chances of Republicans winning control of the Senate this year, managing expectations while the GOP was poised for a huge gain of House seats.

He told colleagues during a fall meeting at the NRSC headquarters on 2nd Street, NE, that 2010 would be a steppingstone to the next cycle, when they would have better odds of capturing the majority.

Many of this year’s Senate campaigns were fought on territory friendly to Democrats. Obama won 12 of the 16 Senate battleground states.

Cornyn could take full credit for restoring Senate Republicans to majority power if he serves as NRSC chairman for two more years.

The expectation that Cornyn will continue in his post for another two years gives Senate Republicans valuable stability at the NRSC. It also gives them a helpful degree of certainty.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info Poll: 47 percent back limits on Senate filibuster MORE (D-Nev.) is struggling to find a colleague to head the DSCC.

Many Democrats elected in 2008 have withdrawn their names from consideration. Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCalifornia Law to rebuild middle class shows need for congressional action Hillicon Valley: FCC approves Nexstar-Tribune merger | Top Democrat seeks answers on security of biometric data | 2020 Democrats take on Chinese IP theft | How Google, Facebook probes are testing century-old antitrust laws Top Democrat demands answers from CBP on security of biometric data MORE (Va.), Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganTillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll North Carolina businessman will challenge Tillis in GOP primary Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 MORE (N.C.), Mark UdallMark Emery UdallPoll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado 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 (Colo.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback MORE (N.M.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Overnight Energy: Democrats call for Ross to resign over report he threatened NOAA officials | Commerce denies report | Documents detail plan to decentralize BLM | Lawmakers demand answers on bee-killing pesticide Oregon Democrats push EPA to justify use of pesticide 'highly toxic' to bees MORE (Ore.) have said they’re not interested in the job.

There has been a growing drumbeat among Democrats for Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.), who chaired the committee in the 2006 and 2008 cycles, to take the job again. Schumer resisted the idea when it was floated before the election by he has not commented on the prospect since Nov. 2.