Tags: Senate Democrats | Chuck Schumer | Dick Durbin | Patty Murray

Senate Dems' Cheerful Exterior Belies Intense Power Struggle

By    |   Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 10:31 AM

Apparently the succession of Senate Democrats as New York's Chuck Schumer prepares to take over for outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid is not as peaceful as it would publicly appear, The Washington Post reports.

While Democrats may brag that their leadership transfer is far less angry than the infighting of their Republican counterparts, trouble is brewing between Schumer and his No. 2 colleague, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.

Durbin's spokesman asserted he would assume the job of minority whip after a handshake approval with Schumer, but Schumer's rep now says no way — that handshake deal didn't happen, the Post said.

Meanwhile, support grows in some quarters for Patty Murray, a dedicated party soldier and the highest-ranking female in leadership, to step into the spot that Durbin wants, the Post's "The Fix" column noted of the down-low fracas — and need to diversify ranks.

Writes the Post's Chris Cillizza of the power-wrangling dilemma: "What Schumer does not want to do is make it look as though he is interfering in any way, shape or form with the races below him, particularly when it comes to the possibility of Murray moving up in leadership. That's the exact opposite of Durbin's interests, which is to lock Schumer into a vow of support and end the Murray bid before it even begins."

Durbin, noted the Post, wants to "save face after being leapfrogged for the top job by Schumer. By remaining No. 2, and not challenging Schumer, he looks honorable in his intent to keep Senate Democrats happy and on the same page."

But the Post noted Schumer's frustration as he is likely "not keen on his first act as the incoming minority leader being a handshake deal between two older white guys, who are replacing another older white guy — a deal that, by the way, keeps the status quo almost totally in place."

Some believe change would be helpful for Democrats. Noted the National Journal of a possible shake-up, the Schumer-Durbin whip rift "could bring new blood to leadership." Others eyeing new posts include include Michigan's Debbie Stabenow, Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, and Delaware's Chris Coons.

Reid, himself, has stepped into the not-so-behind-the-scenes feud, telling both Durbin and Schumer that they need to chill out, Politico noted.

"They should both just sit down, relax," Reid told CNBC. "I'm not going to vote for the next whip. They're just going to have to work that out on their own … At this time they should just sit down. It's a couple years away — just relax."

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Apparently the succession of Senate Democrats as New York's Chuck Schumer prepares to take over for outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid is not as peaceful as it would publicly appear, The Washington Post reports.
Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray
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2015-31-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 10:31 AM
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