Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has endorsed Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to succeed him after he retires at the end of 2016.
"I think Schumer should be able to succeed me," Reid said in a Friday morning interview at his home in Washington's West End.
Reid predicted that Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat in leadership and a close friend, would win the Democratic leader post without opposition. He said that the other likely contender, Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), would stand down for Schumer.
Reid and Durbin spoke by phone at about 11 a.m. Friday.
Reid called Schumer "extremely smart" and noted the brash, energetic New Yorker would have a "different style" than his own soft talking demeanor.
Seemingly comfortable with his decision to not run for re-election, Reid said the liberal wing of the Democratic Party should have faith in Schumer, whose ties to Wall Street fueled his fundraising prowess and helped Democrats win the majority in 2006 and expand it to a super-majority in 2009. Those ties have some liberals questioning whether Schumer should lead the party, but Reid said that Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would serve as the torch bearers for the populist wing and hold the caucus's feet to the fire.
Of his own decision, Reid said he did not want to win another term and grow old in office, saying he wanted to be remembered for his "first 34 years" in Congress and not the last few years.
A devout baseball fan, Reid said he never wanted to grow old and not be a real force in the Senate. "I don't want to be a pinch hitter," he said.