Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is backing New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer for the top Senate Democratic leadership spot, Murray's office confirmed Monday.
“Senator Murray spoke to Senator Schumer several times over the past few days and told him that she planned to support him for leader next Congress and looks forward to continuing to be his partner in Senate Democratic leadership,” the aide said, responding to news first reported by CQ Roll Call.
The Washington Democrat's backing makes it a near certainty that Schumer will replace Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) when he retires at the end of 2016.
Murray, the Democrats’ conference secretary, has yet to say whether she will challenge Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), however, leaving the No. 2 spot in leadership an open question for the next Congress.
The leadership shuffle comes after Reid announced on Friday he would not seek re-election in 2016, catching the Democratic conference off guard.
Reid immediately endorsed Schumer to succeed him, despite Durbin’s post as the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate. Durbin said he will support Schumer's bid.