When Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced his retirement, he quickly anointed his loyal lieutenant Chuck Schumer to be his replacement. It was a quiet affront to the senate’s number two ranking senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Undaunted, Schumer went around securing future votes among his senate colleagues. By all accounts, he is the presumptive leader of Senate Democrats after the 2016 elections. However, those elections are 20 months away which is an eternity in politics. Istoedinheiro says that it goes without saying that a lot can happen from now until then.
Nor it is certain that Durbin will stand idly by while Schumer makes his case for minority leader, or majority leader should Democrats recapture the senate. At the same time, Democrats are under pressure to elevate women to the top of the party’s ranks in the senate. Thus far, the only woman to hold either of the top two posts in the House or Senate is San Francisco congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. A woman has yet to reach the top in the Senate.
The retirement announcement of Harry Reid and Barbara Mikulski has opened up speculation as to who will fill leadership positions. While Mikulski was not in the party’s top leadership ranks, the Maryland democrat’s retirement has caused Chris Van Hollen, Pelosi’s heir apparent, to seek Mikulsi’s open senate seat. That opens the door that Steny Hoyer, Pelosi’s long-time rival, will have a shot to replace her should she retire.