Reid, Durbin Endorse Schumer as Next Leader (Updated) (Video)
Updated 4:36 p.m. | Some senators and aides may have barely awoken after a late-night budget vote-a-rama by the time not only had the chamber’s minority leader announced his retirement, but the gears were turning toward a succession plan.
In announcing that he would retire at the end of the 114th Congress instead of seeking another term, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could have set off a contested race for the top spot in a leadership hierarchy that’s seen very little movement.
But by mid-afternoon, Reid had endorsed New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, no. 3 in the current hierarchy, as his chosen successor — and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin’s office made it clear that the Illinois senator would also back his colleague and former Capitol Hill roommate.
A source familiar with Schumer’s plans told CQ Roll Call that not only is the New York Democrat in the race to be the next leader, he already has secured overwhelming support of members of the caucus.
Durbin, according to his spokesman, also has the support of Reid to seek another term as the party’s whip.
Reid, who announced early Friday he won’t seek re-election in 2016, gave no indication anything was up when he exited the Capitol in the wee hours following Thursday night’s marathon session for the budget vote-a-rama.
But during the budget session, Reid, for a time or two, appeared to be looking on as his three longtime lieutenants —Durbin, Schumer and Patty Murray of Washington — worked through the process of wrangling over amendments.