Montana Sen. Jon Tester was appointed chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2016 cycle.
Senate Democrats are coming off a brutal cycle, in which Republicans won back the majority for the first time since 2006 and could have a nine-seat net gain. But the Senate should be in play next cycle, with a far more favorable map for Democrats than in 2014.
At a news conference following an extended Democratic meeting in the Capitol, Tester said his role will be "going out and finding candidates that can lead, that can win, that can advocate for the middle class in their elections.” Tester said he will continue to focus on his job as senator and still has a farm to keep up back home. In 2016, Republicans must defend 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats . Democrats will likely only have a couple competitive seats to defend: Colorado and Nevada. In the Silver State, Republicans will certainly pull out the stops to oust outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Also, a presidential contest tops the 2016 ticket, driving up turnout.
Tester succeeds outgoing DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet, who is up for re-election in Colorado. The executive director will also need to be replaced, with Guy Cecil not returning for a third cycle at the helm.
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