This item has been updated.
Seeking ideological and regional balance, a chastened Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) expanded his leadership team Thursday, including the addition of liberal icon Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), to beat back internal critics.
Warren is taking a position inside the party's policy and messaging operation, led by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). The announcement came after a heated 3 1/2-hour meeting in which participants said grievances were aired after the devastating midterm elections cost them the majority next year.
Reid appointed Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a second-term senator close to many of the caucus's agitated members from then upper Midwest and Plains States, as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
While not a moderate himself, Tester's 2012 reelection victory is viewed as a model for other Democrats who come from conservative terrain.
This came after Reid won another term leading the Democrats, over the objection of several centrist Democrats. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin told reporters afterward that they didn't cast a ballot for Reid or anyone else, a protest vote that was unusual simply by being held.
In the past, Reid has been voted into another term by acclamation without even a formal vote. By demanding a vote, the rank-and-file demonstrated that there is some angst over Reid's continued leadership after a decade -- two years in the minority and eight in the majority.
Expanding the leadership table -- Warren's position was created specifically for her -- is a way to answer the critics who think that Reid's team became insulated in recent years, according to senior Democratic aides.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), like Tester a member of the large and influential class first elected in 2006, was appointed chair of a committee that handles outreach to outside allies and activists. She also will be tasked with identifying for Reid bills passed by the House that enjoy bipartisan support in the Senate and could be approved by year's end.
Reid emerged from the meeting flanked by his new leadership team -- three other men and four women -- a rare sight for a Senate leader who has preferred to address reporters alone from the Ohio Clock Corridor off the Senate Chamber.
"We’re going to expand our leadership, we’re going to do things a little differently, a little different approach," he said at the start.
Over the course of the hours-long meeting, Reid said that 28 of his caucus's 55 members spoke. "Speech after speech after speech" focused on his colleagues' concerns for the middle class, he said.
Turning to his new team, Reid called out Warren especially: "Somebody asked me on the way here, is Elizabeth Warren going to be part of your leadership, what do you expect her to do? I expect her to be Elizabeth Warren."
But Reid angrily rejected questions suggesting that his leadership had spoiled the reelection of fellow Democrats. He recounted dozens of occasions in the past year when he said Republicans had blocked attempts to hold votes on bipartisan legislation or to amend various bills.
Moving forward, Reid said that Democrats would be seeking productivity and bipartisan accord.
"This is not get-even time. I do not intend to run the Democratic caucus like the Republican caucus has been run in the minority. I am not going to do that," he said.
After the meeting, McCaskill told reporters that Democrats had cast secret ballots to reelect Reid, but that she and an untold number of others had voted against him.
“We’ve got to stick to our knitting and make sure that we’re talking about things that we want to do for the American people instead of talking about winning elections," she said. "That means making this place functional again and working with our Republican colleagues.”
Manchin said that McCaskill, himself and others had sought at least one more week to discuss how their caucus should proceed next year, with a hope that they could take the time to refocus their policy and messaging. When that idea was rejected, leaders called for a vote to reelect Reid.
“I voted for a change, and that change was not voting for this leadership," he said.
Manchin said he had asked for one more week to discuss with his colleagues “everything that went wrong, evaluate what went wrong, messaging or lack of messaging, and move forward.
"The people in West Virginia spoke very loud and clear: They want us to do something here, they want something to happen," he added. "Respectfully, Harry Reid’s a good man, and I have all the respect for Harry, I just wanted different leadership.”
This post has been updated.