Democratic operatives close to Sen. Charles Schumer (right) say the calm demeanor of his chief of staff, Mike Lynch, is a perfect match for the Senators trademark intensity.
Imagine Sen. Charles Schumer, only serene and media-averse, and Mike Lynch, the New York Democratís chief of staff, comes into view.
As the Democratic Conference vice chairman has climbed the Senate ladder of influence and leadership, so, too, has Lynch. The Virginia native, 44, is considered Schumerís most trusted adviser, ranking only below the Senatorís wife in clout. But he has gone largely unnoticed outside the powerful circle he inhabits, and thatís partly because he seems to have wanted it that way.
Still, he is described as a respected aide who can ó and does ó tell his boss ďnoĒ when he believes it necessary. Democratic operatives close to Schumer say Lynchís calm demeanor is a perfect match for the Senatorís trademark intensity.
ďTheir personalities work well together. Theyíre just a very good fit; they balance each other,Ē said Carol Kellerman, who was Schumerís best friend in college and his first chief of staff when he entered the House in 1981.
Lynch, a campaign trail and Capitol Hill veteran, counsels Schumer on matters ranging from parochial New York issues to Congressional legislation of national import and broad political and electoral strategy. The latter is the arena viewed as the Senatorís calling card during his rise to become the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader. Lynch also is intimately involved in the day-to-day running of the Schumer-led Democratic Policy and Communications Center, the Senate majorityís chief political research and messaging operation.
This includes working with Schumer and senior DPCC staff on strategic planning and message development and helping to ensure coordination with Senate Democratic legislative efforts. Lynch acts as a bridge between the DPCC and Membersí offices, communicating to his fellow chiefs of staff and making sure their concerns are heard and addressed on the inside. If thereís a problem, Lynch is considered the fixer.
Indeed, one source said Lynch became the go-to guy during last yearís government shutdown fights, giving Senate offices logistical advice on how they should operate when the government isnít running.
Current and former Schumer aides were highly complimentary of Lynch. They said Lynch is effective as a campaign strategist and as legislative policy adviser ó and that he is a competent manager of Schumerís diverse Senate staff. In addition to running the DPCC, Schumer chairs the Rules and Administration Committee and sits on powerful panels such as Finance, Judiciary and Banking. Democratic chiefs and other operatives who deal with Lynch regularly say he deserves the accolades for keeping Schumerís ship upright.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.