McConnell chief of staff moving to NRSC

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate chamber in the US Capitol on Dec. 30, 2012. PHOTO/Molly RILEYMOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in  2012.  (Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell's chief of staff, Josh Holmes, is leaving to work for his reelection campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“I’m going to be leaving this job as Sen. McConnell’s chief of staff to head to the NRSC and Sen. McConnell’s campaign for the duration of the cycle,” Holmes said in an email. “This may be the best chance for Republicans in a generation to pick up the majority in the Senate, and Leader McConnell wants to ensure that we have all hands on deck.”

Republicans need to net six seats to flip the Senate in 2014. The map is favorable to Republicans; seven seats on the ballot are in states won by Mitt Romney last fall. Only one Republican is in a state won by President Obama. But in 2016 the tables are turned, and far more vulnerable Republicans are up for reelection. If McConnell is going to become majority leader, Republicans will have to win big next year.

McConnell faces his own reelection fight against Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, as well as a primary fight from tea party-tied businessman Matt Bevin. Polls suggest he's vulnerable despite the state's conservative lean.

Before joining McConnell's staff in 2007, Holmes worked as rapid response director at the Republican National Committee. For several years, he led GOP messaging at the Senate Republican Communications Center.

Holmes has left McConnell's staff twice before -- once to work on the leader's 2008 reelection campaign, and again to work for the NRSC during the 2010 elections.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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