Schumer's Senate strength grows

November 6, 2008 5:24:37 PM PST
The 2008 election wasn't perfect for Charles Schumer, but it was still pretty good for New York's senior senator. And that means he will have more power and influence in a government soon to be dominated by Democrats. As chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Schumer has given his party back-to-back election triumphs. In 2006, he helped them take the majority in the Senate. In 2008, he helped them widen that control to at least 57 out of 100.

The outcomes of three races are still unclear, so it is still technically possible for Democrats to reach a filibuster-proof majority, but that looks unlikely.

Whatever the final number, Schumer says having a strong majority "is a big burden," because if you don't produce you can be thrown out as quickly as got in.

As for his own future, Schumer is almost certain to retain an influential position in leadership as a close adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, though Schumer declined to confirm that because no official decision has been made.