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Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) announced Tuesday that Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) will serve as vice chairman of the committee for the duration of the 2008 election cycle. [IMGCAP(1)]

Now that he has a role in all aspects of the DSCC’s operation this cycle, including candidate recruitment, strategy, fundraising, and stumping for Democratic candidates, Menendez must be considered a frontrunner to take over the committee for the 2010 elections, when Schumer will be in cycle and not eligible to serve as chairman again.

“He has one of the best political minds in the Congress, and we’re happy to have him on board,” Schumer said in a statement.

Menendez was appointed by New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) to fill a Senate vacancy in January 2006 and won a full six-year term in November. He previously served in the House after first being elected in 1993, rising to the position of Democratic Caucus chairman in late 2002. He also has been a state legislator and served as mayor of Union City.

While he is not the financial powerhouse Schumer is, Menendez has proved to be one of the top fundraisers in the Senate, spending about $12.8 million to defeat state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R) in 2006.

“He has been a fighter for what is right his entire life and effective in achieving it,” Schumer said.

— Josh Kurtz

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