HUFFINGTON POST: Progressives Thrilled That Durbin Will Seek Reelection as Senate Democratic Whip — Here’s Why

Career College Central Summary:

  • Friday, Senator Harry Reid announced he would step down at the end of this term — ending a decade-plus of strong, effective progressive leadership of Democrats in the Senate.
  • His announcement set off a wave of speculation about who would run to succeed him as Senate Democratic Leader.
  • Most observers believed the announcement would serve as the starting gun for a year-and-a-half-long struggle between former roommates Dick Durbin of Illinois, the whip who is currently number two in the Democratic leadership, and Chuck Schumer of New York, who occupies the number-three spot.
  • Handicappers rated the race a toss-up. Durbin is widely regarded by his colleagues as a super-effective and politically generous leader and progressive champion.
  • Schumer is an effective bulldog who fights hard for his positions and helped many of his colleagues get reelected during his tenure as the chair of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.
  • But the prospect of a prolonged Schumer-Durbin battle cast a pall over the coming campaign by Democrats to retake control of the Senate in 2016.
  • So late Thursday night, after hearing of Reid's plans to retire, Durbin went to Schumer and told him that in order to prevent the divisive, distracting battle, he would not challenge Schumer for the leader position and would instead run again for his post of Democratic whip.
  • That was classic Dick Durbin. Durbin is an ambitious and successful political leader. But when the chips are down, he has always put the interests of his colleagues and the Democratic Caucus and his commitment to progressive values ahead of his own narrow personal interests.

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