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March 31, 2015

Reid’s Replacements Don’t Exactly Inspire

The happy news of Reid’s impending retirement has lost some of its luster.

The happy news of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s impending retirement has lost some of its luster now that he’s tapped Chuck Schumer of New York as his successor. So what do we have to look forward to?

Schumer, now the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, is one of the party’s most prodigious fundraisers. He is also a shrewd political strategist who was the architect of the strategy that flipped 14 Republican-held seats in two consecutive election cycles in 2006 and 2008, giving Democrats a filibuster-proof majority to pass ObamaCare in 2009.

The New York Democrat has an unrivaled reputation as a press hound. One of the running jokes in DC is that the most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera.

A number of Schumer’s colleagues, including Minority Whip Dick Durbin, have endorsed him for leader primarily because of his extensive work in bolstering the Democrat caucus. He is known for burning up the phone lines to keep the caucus in line and for his dogged leadership at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Policy and Communications Center, which he founded. Schumer has a reputation for being a pragmatic dealmaker … with other Democrats, that is.

Senate Republicans can look forward to a nightmare not much different than they faced with Reid. Schumer has always been a vocal and unapologetic proponent of Big Government and the nanny state, and he won’t hesitate to twist arms to get it – or pick any fight to stay in the media spotlight.

Schumer’s list of crusades over the years is a sign of what’s in store. Schumer has called for investigations, regulations or outright bans on so many products and services it’s difficult to keep track: cereal prices, e-cigarettes, fast-food bread, powdered caffeine, yoga mat chemicals, Bitcoin, laser pointers, payday lending and flame retardants to name a few.

Furthermore, Schumer’s on the record musing about nationalizing oil companies, pushing a universal carbon tax, and, of course, even more taxes for the “wealthy,” however that is defined these days.

Most important, Schumer has never seen a gun control measure he didn’t like – unless it wasn’t strict enough.

The quest to find a Democrat candidate to run for Reid’s Senate seat in Nevada isn’t as clear as who will fill his leadership post. Nevada has become uncertain territory for Democrats, and Reid may have decided to retire rather than risk losing his re-election bid in 2016. He denied being worried, but he nearly lost in 2010. And he said, “I think it is unfair for me to be soaking up all the money to be re-elected.” If he had it in the bag, why would it take so much money to win?

To take his Senate seat, the outgoing minority leader favors former Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Mastro, who he claims is unbeatable. Other possible candidates include Ross Miller, who lost the attorney general race last year, and former representatives Steven Horsford and Shelley Berkley, voted out of office in 2014 and 2012, respectively.

The only other viable candidate may be Rep. Dina Titus, but Democrats might not want to risk running her, as she is the only remaining member of the state’s Democrat delegation in the House. Whoever they choose to run for the open seat in 2016 will almost surely face Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, a strong candidate who could give the GOP a pickup in Nevada.

All in all, we’re glad to see Reid headed for the Senate exit, as he has done tremendous damage to the institution itself. But Schumer won’t be an improvement, and if a Democrat wins Reid’s seat little will have been gained.

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