Klobuchar on the rise: Leadership path opens for Minnesota Dem
After rising quietly but steadily since giving up the White House hunt nearly three years ago to endorse President Joe Biden, Klobuchar now chairs the Senate Rules Committee and, as head of the Democratic steering committee, ranks fourth in the leadership hierarchy. The 62-year-old could continue to test the extent of her internal influence within the Democratic caucus.
Or she could test the national stage again as a relatively centrist problem-solver in a progressive-heavy field in four years, and compete to succeed Biden as the party’s national flag bearer. The caucus is already in turmoil over who will replace the retired Democratic No. 3 leader Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Klobuchar’s possible ascent there, according to a person briefed on the internal conversations.
Ultimately, the succession plan mostly belongs to Schumer. And he praised Klobuchar in a statement for this story without bowing his hand: “Amy has an incredible sense of the confluence of politics, the press and politics.”
Approached at the Capitol, Klobuchar declined an interview request for this story. His spokeswoman Jane Meyer said in a statement: “There is always a lot of gossip in the halls of Congress. I can tell you 100% that the senator is focused on one and only one thing: her job.
Stabenow’s impending departure will provide ambitious, younger Senate Democrats with a new opportunity to rise to power in the party. Still, if Klobuchar intends to run for president again, perhaps in 2028 when the Democratic nomination is expected to open, she may be reluctant to rise further within Hill’s leadership.
A Senate Democrat said Klobuchar had “all the credentials and leadership skills” to keep climbing if she wanted to.
“My view would be, which path are you going to choose? My feeling is that the path of legislative leadership is not in line with presidential ambition,” the senator said, addressing the issue on condition of anonymity. “I think she does [look at the White House]. It’s just my instinct.
Klobuchar has also developed a political profile that stands out within the Democratic Party. She has championed a tough tech antitrust bill, though Schumer has refused to introduce it under a unified Democratic government for the past two years and faces an uncertain fate under the current divided government.
His rules committee also offered a bipartisan proposal to modernize the 19th Century Voter Count Act in the last Congress, a bill that eventually became the only post-January bill. 6 reform to become law. This legislative success was based on his close relationship with the senator at the time. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), at the time his GOP counterpart. And Klobuchar has close relations with the Republicans; On Monday, she introduced a campaign finance enforcement bill with the senator. Deb Fisher (R-Neb.).
“Sen. Klobuchar is highly respected within the caucus for her strategic acumen and for her understanding of how to communicate with Americans…people appreciate that skill set. Her fundraising ability is perhaps a little understated. estimated, but she’s definitely there,” Sen said. Tina Smith (D-Minn.). “She brings a lot to caucus that way.”
Klobuchar’s next sequential leadership move would be to take up the position currently held by Stabenow, who heads the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. That post, heading the caucus’ central messaging clearinghouse, served as a stepping stone for Schumer to become the Democratic leader. Stabenow declined to comment on who would succeed her and said she “has another two years to lead vigorously and effectively” at the center.
Above Stabenow is Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has served as whip since 2005, will soon be re-elected in 2026 and has faced no challenges in recent years. Durbin declined to address the future of the management team in a brief interview, saying only, “Nice try.”
The other leadership positions are more fluid in the hierarchy: Stabenow was the #4 leader until Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) left Schumer’s team to join the presidential line of succession as interim president and became the No. 3 leader while retaining the same DPCC presidency.
Seniority matters more in Congress for Democrats than it does in the GOP, where term limits create more turnover in leadership and in committee chairs. And it’s unclear whether any of the current Democrats on Schumer’s extended leadership team would be an heir apparent to the current Majority Leader, who, at 72, could easily try to stick around for years. coming.
That means Klobuchar isn’t the only senator charting a new course since the 2020 primaries named Biden and scattered the rest of the party’s rising stars. Sense. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) are both running for re-election to Congress, with Warren serving as a leading pragmatic progressive and Gillibrand tackling his signature issue of military justice.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) now chairs the influential Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and is also considering whether to run again. And the senator. Cory Booker (DN.J.), another of Biden’s top enemies in 2020, is Stabenow’s messaging panel vice president.
In an interview, Booker said he felt “blessed” to be part of the management team, but wasn’t considering whether he or – someone else like Klobuchar – could succeed Stabenow.
“It will be two years before we are faced with this question,” he said.