Senate Democrats Plan Leadership Election for Nov. 16

Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:08pm

Senate Democrats are expected to hold leadership elections for the 112th Congress on Nov. 16, sources said Tuesday.

A Democratic leadership source confirmed the date but cautioned it could change, particularly if Republicans take over the majority in the chamber or if the results of any Senate races are still undecided by Nov. 16.

Only individuals elected to serve in the 112th Congress will vote in the elections for a handful of top positions in the Senate Democratic Conference.

While Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.) is expected to retain his position as Majority Leader if he wins re-election next week, a Democratic loss in Nevada would set off a race for the Conference’s top post. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the No. 2 and No. 3 leaders of the caucus, are widely considered the leading candidates to replace Reid should his position become available.

The leadership elections will occur exactly two weeks after the midterm elections during the first week of the lame-duck session, when Members return for old business and freshmen travel to Washington for an orientation week. Both the leadership election and orientation are handled by the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), in conjunction with the Majority Leader’s office.

Senate Republicans are also expected to hold their leadership elections Nov. 16, although a GOP leadership aide similarly noted the date could change depending on the results of the midterms. House Democratic leaders, meanwhile, are eyeing Nov. 18 as a possible date for leadership elections, with an orientation for new Members running Nov. 14 to 20.