Senate Republicans unanimously elected Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran to serve as chairman of their campaign arm for the 2014 cycle and also named Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas to serve as vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Portman will be vice chairman of finance, and Cruz will be vice chairman for grass roots. Moran was unopposed for the job.
Democrats face a daunting cycle in 2014, when the party must defend 20 seats — many of which are in traditionally conservative states such as Alaska and South Dakota. But the NRSC was plagued by divisive primaries during the past two cycles, costing the party at least five seats. The Senate GOP must win six seats to retake the majority.
The new NRSC structure is intended to alleviate two of the committee’s biggest challenges: fundraising and navigating difficult primaries.
Cruz is a darling of the tea party and conservative wing of the GOP. He defeated a wealthy and well-known candidate in a runoff this summer and easily won his first term in the Senate last week.
Portman turned down requests from his colleagues to run for the NRSC post. Republicans view him as a strong fundraiser with a lucrative donor base in southern Ohio and nationwide.
There’s been some quiet grumbling that Moran doesn’t come from a state with a strong donor base, which could make it difficult to bring in big bucks in the 2014 cycle.