by Jonathan Singer, Tue Nov 14, 2006 at 06:41:41 PM EST
Almost two years ago today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was able to cajole Chuck Schumer into remaining in the Senate (rather than making a run for Governor in New York) and chairing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee by offering him both a much-coveted seat on the Finance Committee. Though some have remaining complaints about the job Schumer has done at the DSCC (his role, perceived or real, in the Ohio Senate primary is much cited), few can judge his overall tenure as anything less than an overwhelming success.
Now, as Alex Bolton reports for The Hill, Reid has once again offered Schumer an enticement to chair the DSCC, this time by creating a new leadership position within the Senate Democratic caucus just for Schumer.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who played an instrumental role in helping Democrats regain majority control of the Senate, has been rewarded with the third-ranking post in the Senate Democratic leadership.
In return for the promotion, Schumer will again lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in the 2008 election cycle.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announced to colleagues during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning that he has created a new position in the leadership for Schumer. The new post, vice chairman of the caucus, will rank behind Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the incoming majority whip, and ahead of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the incoming Democratic conference secretary.
The deal creating the new position was still being negotiated between Schumer and Democratic leaders yesterday afternoon. Democratic sources said yesterday that Schumer would serve another election cycle as chairman of the DSCC. But also yesterday afternoon Schumer said that while Reid and Durbin had asked him to serve another cycle, he was not yet prepared to announce his plans.
With several great opportunities for the Democrats to pick up even more Senate seats in two years, it's important for the DSCC to have as its chair someone with a strong fundraising capability and a track record of success not only at recruiting strong candidates but also at actually wining elections.
I don't mean to overstate the importance of fundraising or to minimize the role the national political environment plays in the results of Senate elections around the country. In 2004, then-DSCC Chairman Jon Corzine did a fine job at both raising money and finding top-notch candidates only to see the Democrats net a loss of four seats in the Senate. It would be unfair to blame the losses of Tony Knowles in Alaska, Brad Carson in Oklahoma, Betty Castor in Florida, Erskine Bowles in North Carolina and others on Corzine just as it would be wrong to give Schumer all the credit for the Democrats' perhaps surprising gain of six Senate seats one week ago.
Nonetheless, with both his experience and his track record, Chuck Schumer brings a lot to the DSCC. So kudos once again to Harry Reid for maneuvering to put Schumer in that position and help maximize the Democrats' chances at winning more seats in the United States Senate.