McConnell Reelected Senate Republican Leader, Todd Young to Lead Senate GOP Campaign Committee

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell / Getty Images
November 14, 2018

Senate Republicans voted on Wednesday to reelect Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and fill a number of other Senate leadership positions as lawmakers prepare for the 116th Congress.

Sen. Todd Young (R. Ind.) was chosen to head the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm. Other confirmed positions include Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) as Republican whip, Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) as conference chair, Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) as Policy Committee chair, and Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) as conference vice chair.

McConnell said he wants to continue "the confirmation of lifetime appointments to the judiciary," his top priority, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share our wonderful, overwhelming message of prosperity," Ernst said after beating out Sen. Deb Fischer (R., Neb.) for the position of vice chair.

Young will face the challenge of trying to defend the GOP's Senate majority in 2020, when the Senate map will be much less favorable to Republicans than it was in 2018. The GOP will try to hold 21 seats versus only 12 for the Democrats.

Two Republicans are up for election in states Hillary Clinton won in 2016: Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) Susan Collins (Maine). Two Democrats will defend seats in states won by President Donald Trump: Sens. Doug Jones (Ala.) and Gary Peters (Mich.).

On the Democratic side, Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) was reelected to lead Senate Democrats. Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) will be whip, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mark Warner (Va.) will serve as vice chairs, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) will oversee outreach, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) will head the steering committee.

The Democrats have not chosen someone to lead their campaign arm, but Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) is not expected to keep that position.