by Jonathan Singer, Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 10:40:13 PM EDT
I was pretty stoked back in November 2004 when incoming Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was able to cajole Chuck Schumer into keeping his eyes on the Senate and manning the helm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. I was likewise pleased in November 2006 when it emerged that Schumer had agreed to stay on a second term at the committee, something done only once during the preceding 20-plus years. Now comes word from The Hill's Aaron Blake that Schumer is considering an historic third term as DSCC chairman.
In fact, things are going so well for Schumer that he won't even rule out doing it again for an unheard-of third term at the helm of the DSCC.
At the same time, he said he has "no desire" to be governor, even though he has weighed a run before and the seat is vacant in 2010 now that Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) has resigned.
"People don't believe this, but I don't plan ahead ... We'll just cross that bridge when we get to it," he said. "I would say one thing: It's hard when you are running for office. The traditional wisdom is you shouldn't be in the DSCC [when running]."
Schumer is up for reelection in 2010.
To this point, only Wendell Ford of Kentucky has served three terms at the head of the DSCC, so were Schumer to take on the responsibility one more time he would indeed tie the record for longest tenure as the committee's chairman.
Schumer's run thus far has been marked by successes. When Schumer took the position in the wake of John Kerry's loss -- and, more importantly, the Democrats' net loss of four Senate seats, yielding the lowest number of Senate Democrats since after the 1928 elections -- few believed that the Democrats had much of any shot of retaking the Senate in the November 2006 midterms. However, Schumer was able to capitalize on the political environment and wisely used his committee's resources to help find the six pick-ups necessary for the Democrats to retake the Senate.
This time around, we obviously do not know what the ends are going to be. However, to this point, the metrics look really great. As Blake notes in the article, the Democrats have fielded credible candidates in more than half of the 23 seats being defended by the Republicans, and the Democrats have serious shots at winning more than a half dozen races (including five that are already rated "toss-up" or even "likely Democrat"). What's more, the DSCC has better than a $16 million net advantage in cash-on-hand over its rival, the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Of course this isn't to say that the Democrats are bound to pick up half a dozen or more seats -- or even a smaller number -- this fall. And it would be in the interests of all parties for a decision about the chairmanship of the DSCC for the 2010 cycle to be made. That said, as far as things look right now, I wouldn't have too much of a problem seeing Schumer at the helm of the DSCC one more time.
For more, check out the MyDD interview with Chuck Schumer from February 2007.