Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced today that he has acquired enough support to win the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman post in the upcoming leadership elections.
“I have a sufficient number of commitments that if the election is held, I would be successful in becoming the chair," Moran told Roll Call in an afternoon phone interview.
Moran declined to give an exact number of Senators who support him, but his proclamation comes hours after Sen. Rob Portman's (Ohio) allies reported he's also mulling the gig. Portman is well-liked among his colleagues, who see him as a strong fundraiser and winner of a battleground state.
Moran said he has not spoken with Portman since hearing of his interest in news reports today, so he doesn't "know personally how interested he is in running."
The election is set for Wednesday, according to a top Senate GOP aide.
Senate Republicans started soul searching today after the GOP lost two seats in a cycle in which they were expected to make significant gains. Republicans blamed their primaries in part for nominating lackluster general election candidates in states such as Missouri and Indiana.
Next cycle, the NRSC faces a crucial decision over whether to play in primaries and boost their best candidates — even though it may risk backlash from the GOP's activist base.
"I know candidates matter, and we need, as a group of Republican Senators, we need to regroup and consider what role we want the NRSC to play," Moran said. "We need to recruit high-quality individuals [and] encourage them to run."
But Moran declined to say outright whether he supports the party playing a larger role in primaries, reiterating that "my colleagues and I need to have the conversations."
Moran said he started meeting with Senators about the job six months ago, having a "conversation with every Republican Senator" since then. He also said he spoke with all of the successful GOP candidates last night.