Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is throwing his hat in the ring to take over the top Senate Democratic leadership spot after Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) retires at the end of 2016, a source close to Schumer said Friday.
The source said the senator intends to run for leader and was encouraged by Reid to begin corralling support from the Democratic caucus. So far, no senator has announced plans to challenge Schumer for the position.
Schumer spent most of Friday making calls to Senate Democrats, the source said, and by midday he had commitments of support from an overwhelming majority of the caucus.
The New York Democrat thanked Reid on Friday afternoon for his "friendship, counsel" and leadership over the past 10 years.
Hinting at his bid for minority leader, Schumer said he is "honored and humbled to have the support of so many of my colleagues and [looks] forward to our Senate Democratic Caucus continuing to fight for the middle class."
Schumer is the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, behind Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).
A spokesman for the Illinois senator said Durbin told Schumer "late last night that he wasn't running for leader and that Schumer has his support." The spokesman said Durbin plans to run again for minority whip and has Reid's support.
To the surprise of many, Reid announced early Friday morning his plans to retire after 2016, reasoning that he doesn't want to use up the party's resources during a pivotal election year and saying he wants to help Democrats gain back control of the Senate.
Shortly thereafter, Reid threw his weight behind Schumer to succeed him in leading Senate Democrats..
"I think Schumer should be able to succeed me," Reid told The Washington Post.
Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). who attempted to mount a coup against Reid last year, also endorsed Schumer on Friday, praising the New York Democrat's "loyalty."
"He has proven that he can work with moderate and progressive members of the Democratic Caucus, and importantly, with Republican Members from across the aisle," Manchin said in a statement. "I have complete confidence that Chuck Schumer will be a tremendous leader of our party, and he has my full support."
This post has been updated to reflect that Schumer plans to run.
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