Just a little more than one week after the midterm elections, cracks are already showing in the Democratic front. While Republicans unanimously elected Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell on Thursday to lead the party, at least two prominent Democrats broke from the majority by refusing to vote for Nevada Democrat Harry Reid as Senate minority leader.
Red-state Democrats Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia both told reporters they didn’t vote for Reid’s reelection, though no other candidate was offered. “I heard the voters of Missouri loud and clear. They want change in Washington. Common sense tells me that begins with changes in leadership,” McCaskill said earlier Thursday in a statement.
Four other Democratic leaders – Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow – will remain in their current leadership positions in the minority.
There are new faces on the Democrats’ leadership team, however.
Progressive darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren was elected to a Senate leadership spot Thursday in a new role designed to bring the Massachusetts Democrat, who is prolific fundraiser, into the new minority party’s leadership team as a liaison to progressive groups. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will replace Mark Begich, who lost reelection in Alaska, as the chair of the Steering and Outreach Committee. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana was also elected the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In that role, he will run the party’s effort to take back control of the Senate in 2016.
House elections will take place later this afternoon.
In her weekly press conference, a reporter asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if she planned to not run for reelection because her party lost. In her heated response, she argued that the question wouldn’t be asked of a man whose party had lost.
“It just is interesting to me as a woman, to see how many times that question was asked of a woman and how many times that question is never asked of Mitch McConnell,” she said.