Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) put an end to speculation that either of them might challenge Majority Leader Harry Reid for the top spot after the party suffered bruising losses in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Asked on a conference call whether the duo would support the Nevadan for another term as leader, both said in near unison, “Absolutely.”
Durbin and Schumer, the Democrats No. 2 and No. 3 leaders, had been expected to run against each other to succeed Reid had the Nevada Democrat lost his bid for a fifth term Tuesday. However, Reid bested tea-party-backed GOP candidate Sharron Angle, 50 percent to 45 percent, in unofficial results.
A Reid spokesman confirmed his boss would indeed run again for Majority Leader when Senate Democrats vote in their leadership elections Nov. 16.
But there was still talk about whether Reid will want to remain in the post for his entire six-year term.
Sen. Ben Nelson said Wednesday that he did not believe Reid had made that decision yet.
“It’s up to Harry to decide what to do with his future, whether he wants to continue as leader or not indefinitely,” the Nebraska Democrat said.
He added that Reid’s tough race against Angle could in part be blamed on the actions that he had to take as the head of the Senate Democrats,
“Harry has worked hard for the caucus. ... He had to take some positions he might not have taken otherwise” because of his position as leader, Nelson said.
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.