Republicans hold 47 votes in the Senate and if they win the majority, that could further boost Cornyn's chances. After all, the NRSC chairman would be given much of the credit for electing more Republicans to the Senate.
Both Thune and Cornyn are reasonably well-liked in the GOP Conference. But Thune could be a formidable opponent, given that lawmakers already expect to at least gain seats, if not be competitive for the majority.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.