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Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority

Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Chicago Police Union head calls Adam Toledo shooting 'justified,' says 'officer's actions actually heroic' Progressives put Democrats on defense MORE (D-Ill.) said on Tuesday he intends to run for his party's No. 2 spot if Democrats win the majority in November, amid chatter about who might chair the Judiciary Committee.

"I'll depend on the caucus for my future. I hope they believe I have served them well and give me a chance to continue," Durbin said, asked if he wanted to be the whip if Democrats win control of the Senate in November.

Pressed if he was saying he intends to run for the position, which is the caucus's top vote-counter, Durbin responded, "I do."

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Durbin's decision to say that he wants to be whip — a position that he currently holds for the Democratic caucus while they are in the minority — comes amid public pressure for the party to replace Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinOvernight Defense: Army moves to combat sexual crimes | Eight West Point cadets expelled | Democratic senators want to restrict F-35 sale to UAE A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Democratic senators seek to constrain F-35 sale to UAE MORE (Calif.) as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel.

Durbin has not expressed a public interest in becoming Judiciary Committee chairman, and has declined to speculate on Feinstein's future as the top Democrat on the panel. 

But he would not be the first Democratic senator to hold both the No. 2 spot and a chairmanship. In recent history, then-Democratic Whip Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks MORE (D-Nev.) chaired the Ethics Committee simultaneously, the late Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) chaired the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee while he was majority whip and the late Sen. Russell Long (D-La.) served as the Finance Committee chairman as part of his tenure as whip. 

Progressives have been publicly fuming over Feinstein's handling of Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettDemocratic Rep. Mondaire Jones calls on Breyer to retire Democrats roll out legislation to expand Supreme Court Pelosi says she won't bring bill to expand Supreme Court to the floor MORE's nomination, where she thanked Graham for how he ran the four-day hearing and was spotted giving him a hug.

If Democrats win back the majority, Feinstein is in line to become the chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee.

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Asked late last week about the calls for her to be replaced as the top Democrat on the panel, her office pointed to a statement where she defended Democrats' handling of the committee.

“The Senate is structured so the majority had absolute control over this process. When Republicans signaled they’d move ahead in the face of all objections, the only thing we could do was show this nominee would radically alter the court, and we accomplished that," Feinstein said in a statement on Friday.

Top Democrats have not publicly weighed in on the pressure from progressives to replace Feinstein atop the committee, and committee chairs are typically selected by seniority.

Beyond Feinstein, Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress brings back corrupt, costly, and inequitably earmarks Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Senate GOP opens door to earmarks MORE (D-Vt.), who previously chaired the panel, is on the committee but expected to take over the Appropriations gavel if Democrats take over the majority.

After Durbin, Democrats on the committee, in order of seniority, are: Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure Democrats look to impose capital gains tax at death MORE (R.I.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (Minn.), Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsProgressives put Democrats on defense Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform MORE (Del.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoAnti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause MORE (Hawaii), Cory BookerCory BookerProgressive lawmakers press DHS chief on immigration detention Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico Biden's DOJ civil rights nominee faces sharp GOP criticism MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisOddsmakers say Harris, not Biden, most likely to win 2024 nomination, election Passing the Clean School Bus Act can help protect our children's health and our planet The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback MORE (Calif.).

—Updated Thursday at 3:58 p.m.