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Senate Democrats Fall in Behind Schumer

Schumer talks with a reporter before the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Charles E. Schumer said last week he had the votes to be the next Senate Democratic leader. By Tuesday, it was clear the New York lawmaker's colleagues had united behind his bid for the post.  

Four days after current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced he would retire in 2016, a source close to Schumer confirmed he'd received "personal commitments" of support from each of the 42 Senate Democrats who plan to return to Capitol Hill in the 115th Congress. Including Schumer, there are seven Senate Democrats up for re-election next year, and none are currently in tight races that could preclude them from keeping their seats.  

Democrats are poised to pick up seats in three states left open by retirements from Reid, Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., and two House Democrats are challenging vulnerable incumbent Republicans: Reps. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Patrick Murphy of Florida are looking to unseat Sens. Mark S. Kirk and Marco Rubio, respectively.  

If Schumer wants consensus on his candidacy, he will have to convince the crop of new senators to come on board. Luckily, he has some time, and the secret ballot nature of a leadership election could protect the identities of any defectors.  

Related: Patty Murray Backs Schumer for Leader Reid, Durbin Endorse Schumer as Next Leader (Updated) (Video) The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.