Menendez Picked to Replace Schumer at DSCC

Posted November 25, 2008 at 9:01am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday named Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) to be the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Our Caucus will be well-served by Bob Menendez, whose mastery of policy is matched only by his mastery of politics,” Reid said in a statement.

Menendez becomes the first Hispanic to lead a Congressional campaign committee. He replaces Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who served two cycles at the DSCC and helped Senate Democrats retake the majority and pick up a minimum of 13 seats. Two 2008 Senate races — in Minnesota and Georgia — have yet to be completed.

Schumer openly contemplated staying at the committee for an unprecedented third straight term, but he announced on Monday that he wants to focus more on legislation and policy. He is up for a third Senate term in 2010.

“I am humbled by this opportunity, and I fully recognize the responsibility that comes with it,” Menendez said in a statement. “In 2006 and again this year, under the masterful stewardship of Senator Schumer, we have made major gains toward bringing change to our country. We face historic challenges and must continue to move in that new direction. I intend to make sure that we build upon the majority in Senate that allows us to affect the change we need.”

Menendez’s appointment to the DSCC means that a New Yorker or a New Jerseyan has led the committee for four straight cycles. Schumer’s predecessor in 2004 was then-Sen. Jon Corzine (N.J.) — whom Menendez replaced in the Senate after Corzine was elected governor.