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Schumer Has Inside Track to Leadership

Could be first Jewish Senate Majority Leader

by
Marc Tracy
October 29, 2010
From left: Sens. Schumer, Reid, and Durbin.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
From left: Sens. Schumer, Reid, and Durbin.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

If the Democrats hang on to the Senate—and it looks more likely than not that they will, albeit by a very slim margin—then frenemies Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (New York), who are currently the second- and third-ranking Democrats, respectively, are expected to duke it out for the leadership. And, reports Politico today, Schumer is seen to have the upper hand because he has improved his abrasive reputation and spread his wealth around, and because Durbin is unusually close to the White House (come on! feel the Illinoise!)—which, after what happens this Election Day, will likely not be seen as an asset. (This is all dependent on the current Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid (Nevada), losing his race, as expected).

Before you get too excited, with visions of fourth-in-line-to-the-presidency dancing in your head, recall that it is not the Senate Majority Leader who ranks right after the Speaker of the House in terms of presidential succession, but rather the President Pro Tempore, which is to say, the most senior senator of the majority party. Our understanding is that Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is not of the Tribe.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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