Politics & Government

Senate Democratic trouble with Harry?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), October 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), October 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. MCT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is used to being a boogeyman on the campaign trail – comes with the territory of being in the congressional leadership.

But from some of his fellow Democratic senators?

On the stump and in debates, some members of Reid’s Democratic caucus have implied that they might not support him as majority leader – if Republicans don’t take over the Senate – or as minority when Congress returns in January.

Reid’s office dismisses the talk as campaign talk.

‘Sen. Reid is going to remain majority leader,’ Adam Jentleson, a Reid spokesman said Tuesday. ‘We will hold on to the majority, but he will be the caucus leader in any scenario.’

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who’s in a tough re-election fight, was the latest Democrat to publicly pour lukewarm water on Reid as leader. In a debate Monday night, she wouldn’t commit to supporting him.

Months ago, Landrieu said she doesn’t agree with Reid on everything but would support him if he ran for leader again.

‘I said a couple of months ago that I would, but I’m going to make my decision based on what is before me and who is running,’ Landrieu said at Monday’s debate in New Orleans. ‘I think Harry Reid gets beat up more than he deserves, and I’m not saying yes, and I’m not saying no. I’m going to see what the leadership is, what the lineup is, and then make my decision.’

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who’s locked in a tight re-election race against former Republican Sen. Scott Brown, took a similar stance in a New Hampshire debate earlier this month.

‘I’m not sure who our choice will be,’ she said. ‘I’m not going to speculate on who (it should be) but I think it’s important for us to have a contest in these positions because we need to think about how we’re doing business in the Senate.’

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is cruising to re-election against Republican Ed Gillespie, but that didn’t stop him from suggesting that both parties need new leaders.

Reid has told CQ Roll Call that he’s not planning on going anywhere, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Democratic leadership viewed as a possible successor to Reid, agreed.

‘I say that Harry Reid will run for majority leader and he will win with an overwhelming, probably very close to a majority vote,’ Schumer said last Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’