The Senate's second-ranking Democrat expressed his loyalty to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as elections approach in which Reid's fate will be decided.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) refused to comment on whether or not he'd seek to lead Democrats in the Senate if Reid were to lose his tough reelection battle this fall.
"I’m not even speculating on that," Durbin said during an appearance at the City Club of Chicago, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. "My choice is Harry Reid."
Durbin is seen as one of two potential candidates to succeed Reid next year if he should be defeated by Republican candidate Sharron Angle in November. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee who also previously headed Senate Democrats' campaign efforts, is seen as the other potential contender for Reid's job.
The maneuvering by Durbin and Schumer is driven by polls earlier this year showing Reid in a difficult position for reelection, facing large margins against potential Republican challengers.
But the two senators' jockeying for the majority leader position has grown less frenzied in recent months as Reid has made up ground against Angle in Nevada.
The most recent Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason Dixon poll of the race, which has consistently tracked the contest, showed Reid leading Angle 45-44 percent.
Durbin made the City Club speech just a few weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his stomach. His doctors say the Illinois Democrat, who's made other appearances since the surgery, is cancer-free.