Schumer, Durbin Jockey to Be Majority Leader

There’s an under-the-radar race under way beneath all the election madness: The contest to be the Senate’s Democratic leader. As Nevada Senator Harry Reid looks in danger of losing to Tea Partier Sharron Angle, two top Democratic senators are shoring up their support in preparation for a quick race to the leadership position. New York Sen. Charles Schumer donated $20,000 to the Democratic Party of Vermont, a move believed to earn him the goodwill of the state’s senator. But he also donated $500,000 to Reid, because it would be disastrous to be seen actually campaigning before Reid has lost. “With all of the problems our party is having this cycle, he has really put the kibosh on any conversations about Harry Reid other than we all have to support him,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill. “I think everyone has respected Chuck’s leadership in that regard.” Because of his success as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee—he added 15 Democratic seats from 2006 to 2008—Schumer is considered the favorite, but Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois may also be positioning himself, having given over $500,000 to various Democratic campaigns and attended numerous fundraisers.