Patrick Leahy signals he will run for a ninth term in the Senate
In an interview, Leahy said he hasn’t really thought about running again. He organized a fundraiser this week for his re-election and raised over $ 300,000 in the first quarter of the year. Leahy said he and his wife, Marcelle, usually decide in December before the election year whether to run for another term.
“We snowshoe and talk about it. Because the mistake I’ve seen since I’ve been here is people who, almost on the day they came here, are “oh my God, I have to think about re-election”. So they’re afraid to vote for this or that, ”Leahy said, criticizing Republicans for opposing an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 uprising over political concerns.
He also said state polls made him win “easily”, and that he won by almost 30 points in 2016. It’s hard to imagine Leahy facing a real challenge; the People’s Republican Governor of the State Phil Scott said at the Atlantic that he is not interested in running for the Senate.
Of course, senators often indicate that they are running again before reversing their decision. Already five senators, all Republicans, have announced their retirement. A few of them had made noise that they could run again before announcing their decision.
And Leahy has about a year to decide because of End of Vermont primaries.
“Patrick and Marcelle Leahy have a long-standing policy of making re-election decisions one year after an election, and that hasn’t changed. He is preparing for an election like all the other senators in the cycle and has retained his campaign manager and his fundraiser, ”said David Carle, spokesperson for Leahy.
If Leahy showed up again, he would likely keep his grip on two high-level positions in the upper chamber. He is the Senate Appropriations Chairman, and since Democrats have no term limit, he could retain the top spot until 2029 if he seeks re-election. (The credit committee is her third committee hammer; Leahy previously chaired the Judiciary and Farm committees, a remarkable achievement.)
He would also keep the Senate post pro tempore as long as his party has a majority, which puts him in the presidential line of succession after the Speaker of the House and gives him a plum job on the first floor of the Capitol.
Longtime House Member Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Would be the frontrunner to succeed Leahy or Sanders when and if one of them retires from the Senate. Scott would name any successor if Leahy or Sanders quit early, and he said he would likely name someone who caucus with the Democrats.
Leahy was briefly hospitalized earlier this year, sending chills down the spine of her majority of 50 members. But the famous Batman-movie cameo actor has served reliably ever since and is back to prowl the halls of the Capitol, taking photos of senators, staff and even journalists. He is the only remaining ‘Watergate baby’, a reference to Democratic lawmakers who first came to Congress the year former President Richard Nixon resigned.
In addition, with a 46-year term, he is the longest-serving active senator and fifth of all time. If he ran again, Leahy would be in line to overtake the late Sen. Robert Byrd (DW.Va.) as the oldest senator of all time. Byrd served 51 years.
Four current senators are older than Leahy. Three of them are 87 years old: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) was re-elected in 2018, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is considering another race next year, and Senator Richard Shelby (R- Ala.) Retires. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) Is 86 years old and just won another six-year term last year.
In interviews this week, senators said a Leahy retirement would surprise them. They noted that Vermonter opposed a change in Democratic caucus rules last year that would have barred Senators with the top spots on trial committees from choosing a subcommittee until all other members of the caucus have the chance to choose one. Democratic senators interpreted Leahy’s opposition as a sign he wanted to stay beyond his term.
Leahy also has deep connections with Senate Republicans, including Shelby, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee.
“I always assumed he would run just because: What else would he do that he would like better than that?” said a GOP senator who works regularly with Leahy. “I would bet he runs again. It is always announced late, and why not if you can get away with it.