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Posted at 11:49 AM ET, 11/30/2010

Patty Murray to be DSCC Chair

By Chris Cillizza



Washington State Sen. Patty Murray will be the next chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

UPDATED, 3:35 p.m.

Washington State Sen. Patty Murray has accepted the chairmanship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today, ending a long search for the next head of the party's campaign arm.

Speaking to reporters after the Senate Democratic luncheon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) introduced Murray as the new chair of the DSCC, praising her as an "efficient" leader.

Murray said that she was "very humbled" to have the support of her peers and Democratic leaders as she takes on the job.

"I know that this is not an easy task," Murray said. "But I'm not doing it because it's easy. I'm doing it because it's a very a tough time for many families, businesses and communities across this country, and they are looking to us here to fight hard for them."

In a brief interview before Reid's official announcement, Murray's Washington state colleague, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, said that Murray is "impassioned about what we're fighting for, and she'll do a good job at leading that effort for the Democratic Party here in the Senate."

Stephanie Shriock, president of EMILY's List, an organization that supports pro-choice Democratic women for office, said Murray will be a "fierce leader" in her new role.

Murray had emerged as a favorite for the job over the last week -- chatting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and deputy White House chief of staff Jim Messina about the possibility.

Democratic leaders had struggled to fill the position in the wake of the 2010 election as several Senators considered likely choices -- Virginia's Mark Warner and New York's Chuck Schumer -- took themselves out of the running and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet turned down the job.

The job is something short of a plum given the raw numbers facing Democrats in 2012. Twenty-one Democratic incumbents are up for reelection in 2012 as are two independents -- Sens. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.) -- who caucus with Democrats. Just nine Republicans are up for reelection.

Murray ran the DSCC during the 2002 cycle when the party lost two seats. She is less than a month removed from a narrow in in a heavily targeted race against former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R).

Texas Sen. John Cornyn will run the National Republican Senatorial Committee for a second straight cycle.

With Felicia Sonmez

By Chris Cillizza  | November 30, 2010; 11:49 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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