With the 2018 election barely a week old, no doubt many of you would prefer to put off thinking about the 2020 election cycle.
Catherine Cortez Masto doesn’t have that luxury.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday that he’s named the Nevada senator to chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2020 cycle. That means Cortez Masto is the Senate Democrats’ fundraiser-in-chief.
As Schumer noted in the headline on his announcement, Cortez Masto is the first Latina to chair the DSCC.
She is not, however, the first Nevadan to chair a national Senate campaign committee. Former Sen. John Ensign chaired the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2008 campaign cycle. In August of 2008, Ensign lashed out at his Republican Senate colleagues for failing to contribute money to Republicans in contested races. Republicans were heavily outspent, and lost eight Senate seats that year.
Democrats under Cortez Masto should do considerably better in 2020. Republicans will be defending more than 20 seats, while Democrats will be defending only a dozen. At least one of those Democratic seats will likely be very hard to hold — the seat held by Doug Jones in ruby red Alabama. Jones, you will recall, got in the Senate by having the good fortune of running against disgraced Roy Moore in a special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who served as attorney general until he was fired last week.
But the Democrats have what look like some fair or even solid chances to pick up seats in 2020. John McCain’s seat, currently held by Jon Kyl through appointment, will be up in Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema won a Senate seat this year. Cory Gardner will be seeking reelection in Colorado, which seems to be turning more blue with nearly each election cycle. Joni Ernst may be too much of a controversial hard-right firebrand for Iowa voters to reward her with a second term. Democrats in Maine are confident they have a good shot at unseating Susan Collins, who probably didn’t do herself any favors with her perambulations over the Brett Kavanugh nomination.
Cortez Masto “was our first choice for DSCC Chairwoman because she has demonstrated the attributes we want in a leader: she breaks glass ceilings, is hardworking, astute politically, an outstanding fundraiser and respected by every member of our caucus. She’ll be great leader of the DSCC and help us fight to regain the majority in 2020,” Schumer said.
Once the 2020 cycle is over, the DSCC chairmanship will be handed over to someone else, whose job it will be to raise money for Democrats who will be on the ballot in 2022 — like Cortez Masto.
Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly identified Schumer as majority leader, which wasn’t even wishful thinking, but just a rushed mistake.