Reid Entices Schumer to Stay at DSCC with Leadership Post

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.

There's more...

Senate Committee Assignments

I list them in the extended entry. I would be lying if I said I understood the full scope of each, or really any, of these committees, so basically I am just going to submit them without comment.

There's more...

Senate Leadership Election Results

These just came in:Robert C. Byrd, President Pro Temp
Harry Reid, Majority Leader
Dick Durbin, Assistant Majority Leader
Barbara Boxer, Chief Deputy Whip
Thomas R. Carper, Deputy Whip
Bill Nelson, Deputy Whip
Russell D. Feingold, Deputy Whip
Charles E. Schumer, Vice Chair of the Conference
Patty Murray, Secretary of the Conference
Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of Campaign Committee
Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman of Policy Committee
Debbie Stabenow, Chair of Steering and Outreach Committee
Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of Committee Outreach
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice Chair of Committee Outreach
Blanche L. Lincoln, Chair of Rural Outreach So, Lieberman hasn't defected, at least yet. Interesting that Schumer will be returning as DSCC chair. Also, I would note that there is a lot of ideological diversity in the leadership, including leadership positions for progressives such as Boxer and Feingold. However, 30% of the caucus, and 35% of the returning members of the caucus, are in the leadership. So, diversity in the leadership was almost inevitable.

Anyway, certainly not the fireworks we are seeing on the House side.

MT-Sen, VA-Sen: Burns and Allen To Concede

It won't be long before victory in the Senate is official. From Montana:U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting record) conceded defeat to Jon Tester on Thursday, acknowledging that a tight election had gone to the Democrats' favor, Burns' campaign told The Associated Press.

Burns, a three-term senator whose campaign was troubled by verbal gaffes and voter discontent, congratulated Tester, a farmer and state legislator.

"I stand ready to help as Montana transitions to a new United States Senator," Burns said in a statement provided to the AP. "We fought the good fight and we came up just a bit short. We've had a good 18 years and I am proud of my record." Well, he is just about the only one who is proud of it. Buh-bye. Also, from Virginia:U.S. Sen. George Allen is expected to concede the race for the Senate today.

Allen's concession to Democrat Jim Webb would pave the way for the Democrats to gain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Allen will hold a 3 p.m. news conference at the historic Carlyle House in Old Town Alexandria.

The Allen campaign has been monitoring the local canvassing of the election results and has not seen enough change to affect the outcome. Webb won by about 7,000 votes out of 2.3 million cast. Assuming that Joe Lieberman caucuses with Democrats, that officially gives us control. I don't think there is much remaining energy to strip Lieberman of his seniority, since it could mean we don't take control. This could very well be a DLC dominated Senate for two years, but we will have the agenda, subpoena power, and much more influence over judges. However, considering that in 2008 and 2010 Republicans must defend a wide swath of seats, we will have the opportunity to build a much more progressive Senate relatively soon. And controlling the Senate at all is a vast, vast improvement on our previous position. In 2008, at the very least, I think we have good chances to win Oregon, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Colorado. It will be a target rich environment. Diarist jgkojak has more on this.

Maybe, in a way, it is better that it took two extra days for the Senate to officially become ours. That way, Nancy Pelosi was featured in the news for two days, and now Harry Reid can have his turn. It is particularly sweet that Montana and Virginia put us over the top, showing once again that the people-powered movement can make a big impact in red states too.

Post-Election Day Open Thread

I am taking the rest of the night off. It will be a joyous, and long, sleep tonight. But two quick things before I go.
  • I just got word from the Webb campaign that all precincts have now reported. Here are the numbers: With 100% of precincts reporting and all provisional ballots counted, Webb leads 1,173,755 to 1,166,408, or 49.55% to 49.24%, a 7,347 vote margin. I'm pretty sure that's beyond his reach. We have won the Senate, but don't be surprised if Republicans keep trying to use Montana and Virginia as ways to undermine our legitimacy. Be vigilant. Fight back.

  • As Jonathan already noted, the national House exit poll is truly fascinating. Democrats won the under-30 vote by an enormous 60-38 margin. We are building a whole new progressive generation. And here is a big key: conservatives only outnumbered liberals by a 32%-20% margin. The is the closest I have ever seen the margin. As Simon Rosenberg wrote today, people really are abandoning conservatism.
Anyway, lots more on this stuff tomorrow. Discuss these and other topics. I need to get busy relaxing for an evening.

Diaries

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