WASHINGTON – When it comes to his future at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the normally talkative Chuck Schumer is anything but.
After serving two wildly successful terms as chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, it is widely assumed in Capitol Hill circles that Schumer won’t return to the committee for a third election cycle. But Schumer hasn’t made any plans public yet, and to say that he is playing coy is an understatement.
In a Thursday afternoon press conference, reporters pressed Schumer on his future at the DSCC with little success.
“O.K., again, I’m not going to answer that one until we get finished with these three races,” Schumer said, referring to outstanding Senate contests in Georgia, Alaska, and Minnesota.
Asked if that meant he wouldn’t reach a decision until as late as the end of December, Schumer responded: “I’m going to have to sit down with [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, but for the moment I’m focused on these three races.”
When a reporter pressed Schumer on whether the DSCC’s planning for the 2010 cycle would be postponed because of his indecision, the New Yorker said, “Well, we’re pretty much focused on these three races now.”
Since Schumer took the reins at the DSCC during the 2006 cycle, Democrats have picked up 12 seats in the chamber and are within striking distance of the 60 seats necessary to fend off a G.O.P. filibuster. Should Schumer decide to step aside after the cycle, his successor would be selected by Reid. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is seen as the leading candidate for the post.
Schumer will have to run for re-election for his Senate seat in 2010, and that is seen as a leading reason for his likely departure. But in an interview with the Observer’s Jason Horowitz published this week, Schumer offered a little more insight into his thought process.
“I enjoy it, but this is such an exciting time to help legislate and to help move America that spending three, four hours a day strategizing, recruiting and fund-raising is something you think twice about doing the fifth year in a row,” he said.
For now, Reid is just as tight-lipped about Schumer’s future at the DSCC as Schumer himself.
Asked about the matter in an e-mail exchange late last week, a Reid aide wrote back, “Sorry, but nothing from me. Decline comment.”