WILMINGTON, Del. — Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Hill on Thursday that he's confident Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will prevail in his reelection campaign and retain his status as majority leader next year.
"He has the best ground operation Nevada's ever seen, and it is now in action," Durbin said after a campaign event with Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons in Delaware. "He's been up in the polls, and between that ground operation and the polling numbers, I feel good about Harry coming back as our majority leader."
Should Reid lose in November, Durbin and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are widely seen as the most likely senators to replace him as majority leader.
Durbin attended a fundraiser for Coons on Thursday morning and then met with local Delaware business leaders at a Wilmington restaurant.
The Senate majority whip also talked up Democrat Alexi Giannoulias's chances in the race to fill President Obama's former Senate seat in Illinois. On Wednesday, Giannoulias said if Reid were to lose to Republican Sharron Angle, he would back Durbin for majority leader over Schumer.
Durbin also took a shot at Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Thursday, warning that while Democrats will remain willing to work with the GOP in the Senate after November, he isn't sure Republicans will show that same spirit.
"We've heard from Sen. DeMint and others that his goal is to shut down the Senate either by filibuster or any obstacle that he can dream up," said Durbin. "If that's what they want to achieve, the Senate rules allow them to do that to a great extent. But if there are men and women of good will on both sides of the aisle, we can still solve America's problems."
The Illinois Democrat deflected a question about what Democrats would do differently if their Senate majority shirks after this fall, saying, "We need to find out whether there will be Senate Republicans who will cross the aisle and help us solve problems."
-- This post was updated at 2:34 p.m.