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“Bennet is one of our finest members: He’s smart. He’s hardworking. He’s respected. I like him a lot, but I’m not going to comment on DSCC chair,” said former DSCC chairman and current No. 3 Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York.
Durbin, when pressed on whether the “person in mind” was Bennet, said, “I’ve always liked Sen. Bennet.”
Of course, there are drawbacks in taking the job. Campaign chairman by definition is one of the most political jobs in Congress. Bennet has made several efforts to work across the aisle on issues important to him, from education to budget. Most recently, he has been working with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., to come up with an offer on the ongoing end-of-year budget debates.
Unlike Murray’s home state of Washington, Colorado has become a battleground in recent years, which may be influencing Bennet’s concern about appearing too partisan. Similarly, members in the past who have taken campaign committee positions — such as Schumer and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas —often found they were viewed more skeptically when they tried to reach across the aisle during and after their tenure.
Choosing to be DSCC chairman frequently follows a common trajectory. Schumer, for example, is still a top fundraiser and spends most of his time in Washington planning public relations for the party.
But Murray showed she was able to navigate politics and policy last fall when she helmed a super committee on deficit reduction while also serving as DSCC chair.