Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin was re-elected Wednesday morning as the No. 2 Senate Democrat, heading off what some expected to be a challenge from Washington Sen. Patty Murray.
Durbin, 71, has served as Senate Democratic Whip since 2005. The St. Clair County native, first elected to the Senate in 1996, has more seniority than Sen. Charles Schumer, but did not challenge the New Yorker to become the Senate’s top Democrat.
Murray, elected in 1992, has more seniority than both Durbin and Schumer, who was elected in 1998. She was elected assistant Democratic leader on Wednesday morning.
Though Democrats failed to win the Senate last week, they picked up two seats, including that of Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from northern Illinois, will join Durbin in the Senate in January.
Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who held off a re-election challenge from Democrat Jason Kander, Missouri’s secretary of state, was elected as Senate Republican Conference vice chairman on Wednesday morning.