For obvious reasons, I’m a little intrigued by the game “Tag” going on among the 53 remaining Democrats left in the United States Senate as they pick their new Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or DSCC.
See, last week — just like the Republicans and their colleagues in the House — they elected their leadership on Tuesday. But they kept one position empty: Chairman of the DSCC.
When Senate Democrats held their leadership elections Tuesday morning, one spot was left vacant.
There is still no chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and it appears the reason is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hasn’t convinced anyone to take the job yet.
There are currently 23 Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2012; and I’m unsure if that figure includes the two Independent Senators (Sanders of Vermont and Lieberman of Connecticut) who caucus with them…possibly making the task of DSCC Chairman (or Woman) one in which they have to defend a whopping 25 Senate seats; many of which are in swing states or traditional Republican states like Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska.
Speculation has been rampant about who will take, or even want the job. Historically, the position is never given to a recently elected Freshman Democrat, so that leaves out the Chris Coons of the world. Also, the rule is often “Unless you’re “Super-Safe,” and you’re up for re-election, you can’t head the DSCC,” so that takes away large chunks of the caucus from the position.
Initially, hopes were high on New York’s Chuck Schumer re-taking the leadership of the DSCC. It was, after all, a familiar role he held to much success in 2006 and 2008, but he declined. Apparently, the famed fund raiser and candidate recruiter isn’t much of a defender of seats.
Then they went to John Kerry. He declined.
After him, Minnesota’s Al Franken. He too declined.
All eyes then went to the newly re-elected Junior Senator from Colorado, Mike Bennett. Bennett had just survived a fight in a swing state, had good fund raising, and known for his ties to the national groups. He too is said on multiple occasions to not want the job.
So why is this happened?
Well, look at the figure. 23 or so Senate seats is an impossibly high number of seats to defend. Democrats did have a great 2006 after all, and now the chicken of that wave is coming home to roost. So by just sheer numbers alone, that is going to make resources tough to spread around if they have to do so.
Then there’s “The Other Problem You Can’t Talk About,” when it comes to fund-raising for the 2012 cycle.
2012 is a Presidential year, which automatically means all money in liberal politics will be flowing to the re-elect efforts of President Obama and the Democratic National Committee, not to the House and Senate committees. Meaning, that an already tough time fund raising is going to get tougher. Their time to shine in the sun is during the mid-terms after all.
So who gets the job in the end? Word is the White House and Senate Democratic Leadership may go in one of two directions:
1) Get the safest Democrat in the 2012 cycle to chair. In this case, that would be Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, who would face nominal GOP opposition for re-election.
2) Washington’s Patty Murray. The various tip sheets say both the White House and Harry Reid are pulling a full-court press on the recently re-elected senior Senator from Washington. She too is said to not be pleased with what a stint as DSCC Chair would detail this time. (She was ran the place in 2001–2003 when the GOP gained the Senate Majority outright with a 51–49 margin after Democrats recaptured it with the Jeffords defection in mid-2001.)
So what’s going to happen? Well, don’t expect a decision on the issue by Thanksgiving.
Or Christmas for that matter by the look of things…