Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is poised to be promoted to Senate minority whip Wednesday despite a bruising election cycle as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
“John Cornyn has poured his heart and soul into the NRSC job,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “All of us have seen him and his wife at airports on the weekends, traveling, working hard.
“I don’t know how Cornyn could have put out more effort to be successful.”
Atop the NRSC, Cornyn was charged with boosting Republican numbers in the chamber, but Senate Republicans lost a net of two seats on Nov. 6 after initially being favored to pick up the majority. In the end, Democrats swept the majority of competitive races, including Indiana and Massachusetts, and Republicans missed opportunities for pickups in Missouri, Montana and North Dakota.
The losses led to brief talk of a change in leadership, but no threat materialized after South Dakota Sen. John Thune — the current GOP conference chairman — decided to run for re-election to his current leadership post. Before announcing last week he would stay put, Thune had said he was considering challenging Cornyn or running for NRSC chairman.
“Obviously we have a lot of work to do, but there is still a lot of support for the team,” Corker said.
In talks recently with many of his colleagues on an unrelated budget matter, Corker said he’s “heard of zero dissension as it relates to who our team is going to be.”
GOP Senate leadership elections are set for Wednesday morning, when the conference, along with elevating Cornyn, is poised to re-elect Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Thune is likely to be re-elected as conference chairman as well. Currently, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas is the only one to have thrown his hat into the ring for NRSC chairman. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio declined entreaties to run for that post.
Thune’s decision to stay in the same spot is expected to keep folks further down the leadership ladder in their spots.
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri has shown no sign of wanting to seek a higher leadership post in the 113th Congress, and he is likely to be re-elected as Republican conference vice chairman. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is also expected to seek and be re-elected as Republican policy committee chairman.