WASHINGTON – Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday he is giving up his job running the Senate Democrats' national campaign efforts after two successful elections.
"We've had a great run," said Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee since the 2006 campaign, when he helped engineer a 6-seat gain that gave his party a slim 1-vote majority margin.
This year, the party won seven more seats, with two additional races in Minnesota and Georgia still undecided.
As head of the campaign effort, Schumer preached that candidates must be active in every part of their states, and focus on local concerns and middle-class economic issues — all of which are hallmarks of the New York senator's approach to his job.
Schumer's decision to leave the DSCC was expected.
He said he felt it was time to devote more of his energy to legislation in what he hopes will be a historic Congress. When lawmakers come to the nation's capital in January they will have strengthened their grip on both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and be working with a Democratic president in Barack Obama.
They will also face immediate decisions on how to deal with the cascading financial crisis, two wars, and ballooning budget deficits.
"I want to just devote more time to legislating, and helping turn the country around," Schumer said.
The outspoken senator said he's more than willing to offer advice to his as-yet-unnamed successor. One name frequently mentioned as a possible successor is Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
Schumer is serving his second six-year-term in the U.S. Senate, and he is up for re-election in two years.
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