Schumer reelected as Senate Democratic Leader
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday was named Senate Democratic leader as both parties met to decide their leadership teams for the next Congress.
Schumer was reelected as minority leader by acclamation in the closed-door meeting, according to a source.
Schumer, in a statement, said he was “excited and humbled” to remain in the top Democratic spot.
“We have a unique opportunity in the new Congress to reach more bipartisan agreements to get things done for families across the country, and we will be ready to work with the president and our Republican colleagues on issues where we agree,” he said.
“However, we will not shy away from standing up to President Trump and Congressional Republicans with everything we’ve got when the values we as Americans hold dear are threatened,” he added.
Schumer, who has served in the post since 2017, was not expected to face competition for the caucus’s top spot.
Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who pledged during the campaign that she wouldn’t vote for Schumer, attended the leadership election. She declined to comment to reporters when asked if she backed Schumer in the closed-door meeting. Her campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a press conference with other Democratic Senate leaders, Schumer said he thought Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) had a “good chance” of winning in the Florida recount and touted the Democrats ability to keep or 48 seats in the 2018 midterms despite “facing the worst map that we’ve ever had.”
“With the Senate map wildly tilted in Republicans favor, we’re at worst only one seat worst off than we were when we stood here two years ago and if Bill Nelson wins, which I believe he has a very good chance of doing, we’ll be even,” Schumer said. “When all the votes are counted in Florida, we could be just where we started at the beginning of the 115th Congress with 48 members, even facing the worst map that we’ve ever had. We were defending 10 seats that Donald Trump won. Much to the surprise of the prognosticators who thought we’d lose a whole bunch of seats, we didn’t.”
As the top Democrat in the Senate, Schumer will have to navigate the presidential ambitions of several members of his caucus who are considered potential 2020 contenders and negotiate with Republicans heading into the next election.
While Republicans were looking a leadership shakeup, the Democratic leadership team is expected to largely stay the same.
One position remains unfilled: the leader of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) next year. Democrats emerged from the meeting without announcing a decision. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who currently chairs the campaign arm, has said he doesn’t want to continue in the position.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is up for reelection in 2020, is staying on as Senate Democratic whip and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will keep her position as assistant Democratic Leader.
Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) are also remaining in leadership.
Warren, Klobuchar and Sanders are considered potential 2020 contenders, while Warner is up for re-election.
Manchin and Baldwin were re-elected last week in states Trump won in 2016.
This report was updated at 1:26 p.m.