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Senate Republicans Elect NRSC Chairman (Updated)

Wicker is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Wicker is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:05 p.m. | Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker will chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2016 cycle, when the party will likely be defending a 54-seat majority.  

Senate Republicans chose Wicker over Nevada Sen. Dean Heller in a closed-door meeting Thursday morning to elect the conference’s leaders in the next Congress.
“This was a race between friends, a contest decided among friends, and we began it and ended it that way,” Wicker said. “So, I congratulate him on a very fine race.” Republicans are coming off a wave election, the party’s second in the last three cycles. The GOP has already picked up eight seats and is favored to add one more in the Dec. 6 Louisiana runoff.  

But 2016 will look nothing like this year, when Democrats were almost entirely on defense. Next cycle, with the White House up for grabs, Republicans will be defending 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats, with more than a half-dozen GOP seats in states President Barack Obama carried twice. Wicker congratulated the outgoing NRSC Chairman, Jerry Moran of Kansas, and Vice-Chairman, Rob Portman of Ohio, on a successful cycle.  

“I also want to congratulate Jerry Moran and Rob Portman for the wonderful job they did leading this committee over the last two years,” Wicker added. “Let me just say we’re determined that we build on the success we had in 2014 for the 2016 cycle.”  

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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