Norm Coleman Drops Out of NRSC Race

Roll Call reports that Norm Coleman has informed John Cornyn that he is no longer a candidate to head the National Republican Senate Committee in the next Congress:

Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.) called Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) Thursday afternoon and told him he was dropping out of the race for National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman to focus on the recount in his 206-vote win over Democratic challenger Al Franken.

LeRoy Coleman, the communications director for Coleman’s Senate office, confirmed to Roll Call that the call was made. The two Colemans are not related.

“Sen. Coleman has chosen to step back and focus his efforts on the recount. Going forward, he gives his full support to Sen. Cornyn,” Coleman said.

Cornyn’s Senate office also confirmed the phone call, and released a statement from the Senator.

“Norm is one of the hardest working and well-liked members of the Republican Conference,” Cornyn said. “I sincerely appreciate his support. He has been a tireless advocate for his constituents in Minnesota and I will continue to do whatever I can to help ensure his return to the Senate next year.”

A source familiar with the private deliberations among GOP Senators believes that Coleman would have had the votes to beat Cornyn, had his re-election bid concluded satisfactorily in advance of next week’s scheduled Senate Republican Conference leadership elections.

Cornyn is now expected to easily ascend to the post for the 2010 election cycle.

The 2010 election may be somewhat challenging, as Republicans currently stand to defend 18 seats against the Democrats’ 16. If the political landscape favors the GOP — as Karl Rove argues it will — then Cornyn and the NRSC are likely to have several red state races to target.