Senate Democratic Caucus

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Senate Democratic Caucus
Part ofUnited States Senate
Chair and Floor LeaderChuck Schumer (NY)
Floor WhipDick Durbin (IL)
Vice ChairsMark Warner (VA)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)
SecretaryTammy Baldwin (WI)
AffiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue
Seats
51 / 100
Website
democrats.senate.gov

The Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate, sometimes referred to as the Democratic Conference, is the formal organization of all senators who are part of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. For the makeup of the 118th Congress, the caucus additionally includes three independent senators (Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Angus King of Maine, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona) who caucus with the Democrats, bringing the current total to 51 members. The central organizational front for Democrats in the Senate, its primary function is communicating the party's message to all of its members under a single banner. The present chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus is Chuck Schumer of New York.

Current leadership[edit]

Effective with the start of the 118th Congress, the conference leadership is as follows:

History[edit]

The conference was formally organized on March 6, 1903, electing a chair to preside over its members and a secretary to keep minutes. Until that time, this caucus was often disorganized, philosophically divided and had neither firm written rules of governance nor a clear mission.

Chairs of the Senate Democratic Caucus[edit]

Since Oscar Underwood's election in 1920, the chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus has also concurrently served as the floor leader as part of an unwritten tradition.

Congress Leader State Took office Left office Majority Leader
43rd John W. Stevenson
(1812–1886)
Kentucky December 1873 March 4, 1877 No data
44th
45th William A. Wallace
(1827–1896)
Pennsylvania March 4, 1877 March 4, 1881
46th
47th George H. Pendleton
(1825–1889)
Ohio March 4, 1881 March 4, 1885
48th
49th James B. Beck
(1822–1890)
Kentucky March 4, 1885 May 3, 1890[a]
50th
51st
Arthur Pue Gorman
(1839–1906)
Maryland May 3, 1890 April 29, 1898[b]   Unknown[c]
52nd
53rd   Himself 1893–1895
54th   Unknown[c]
55th
David Turpie
(1828–1909)
Indiana April 29, 1898 March 4, 1899
56th James Kimbrough Jones
(1839–1908)
Arkansas December 1899 March 4, 1903
57th
58th Arthur Pue Gorman
(1839–1906)
Maryland March 4, 1903 June 4, 1906[a]
59th
Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn
(1838–1918)
Kentucky June 4, 1906 March 4, 1907
60th Charles Allen Culberson
(1855–1925)
Texas December 1907 December 9, 1909[b]
61st
Hernando Money
(1839–1912)
Mississippi December 9, 1909 March 4, 1911
62nd Thomas S. Martin
(1847–1919)
Virginia April 1911 March 4, 1913
63rd John W. Kern
(1849–1917)
Indiana March 4, 1913 March 4, 1917   Himself 1913–1917
64th
65th Thomas S. Martin
(1847–1919)
Virginia March 4, 1917 November 12, 1919[a]   Himself 1917–1919
66th   Lodge 1919–1924
Gilbert Hitchcock[d]
(1859–1934)
Nebraska November 12, 1919 April 27, 1920
Oscar Underwood
(1862–1929)
Alabama April 27, 1920 December 3, 1923
67th
68th
Joseph Taylor Robinson
(1872–1937)
Arkansas December 3, 1923 July 14, 1937[a]   Curtis 1924–1929
69th
70th
71st   Watson 1929–1933
72nd
73rd   Himself 1933–1937
74th
75th
Alben W. Barkley
(1877–1956)
Kentucky July 14, 1937 January 3, 1949[e]   Himself 1937–1947
76th
77th
78th
79th
80th   White 1947–1949
81st Scott W. Lucas
(1892–1968)
Illinois January 3, 1949 January 3, 1951   Himself 1949–1951
82nd Ernest McFarland
(1894–1984)
Arizona January 3, 1951 January 3, 1953   Himself 1951–1953
83rd Lyndon B. Johnson
(1908–1973)
Texas January 3, 1953 January 3, 1961[e]   Taft 1953
  Knowland 1953–1955
84th   Himself 1955–1961
85th
86th
87th Mike Mansfield
(1903–2001)
Montana January 3, 1961 January 3, 1977   Himself 1961–1977
88th
89th
90th
91st
92nd
93rd
94th
95th Robert Byrd
(1917–2010)
West Virginia January 3, 1977 January 3, 1989   Himself 1977–1981
96th
97th   Baker 1981–1985
98th
99th   Dole 1985–1987
100th   Himself 1987–1989
101st George J. Mitchell
(born 1933)
Maine January 3, 1989 January 3, 1995   Himself 1989–1995
102nd
103rd
104th Tom Daschle
(born 1947)
South Dakota January 3, 1995 January 3, 2005   Dole 1995–1996
  Lott 1996–2001
105th
106th
107th   Himself 2001
  Lott 2001
  Himself 2001–2002
  Lott 2002–2003
108th   Frist 2003–2007
109th Harry Reid
(1939–2021)
Nevada January 3, 2005 January 3, 2017
110th   Himself 2007–2015
111th
112th
113th
114th   McConnell 2015–2021
115th Chuck Schumer
(born 1950)
New York January 3, 2017 Incumbent
116th
117th
  Himself 2021–present
118th

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Died in office.
  2. ^ a b Resigned from office.
  3. ^ a b Although the Senate Majority Leader for this Congress is unknown, the Republican Party had a majority.
  4. ^ Acting chair.
  5. ^ a b Resigned to become Vice President of the United States.

Vice chair[edit]

After the victory of Democrats in the midterm elections of 2006, an overwhelming majority in the conference wanted to reward Chuck Schumer, then the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with a position in the leadership hierarchy.[citation needed] In response, then-Democratic Leader Harry Reid created the position of vice-chair when Democrats formally took control in 2007.[1] Schumer ascended to Reid's position following his retirement after the 2016 elections. The position was then split, with one co-chair awarded to Mark Warner and the other awarded to Elizabeth Warren.

Caucus secretary[edit]

The United States Senate Democratic Conference Secretary, also called the Caucus Secretary was previously considered the number-three position, behind the party's floor leader and the party's whip, until in 2006, when Democratic leader Harry Reid created the new position of Vice-Chairman of the caucus. Now, the secretary is the fourth-highest ranking position. The conference secretary is responsible for taking notes and aiding the party leadership when senators of the party meet or caucus together.[2]

The first conference secretary was Sen. Edward W. Carmack of Tennessee, who was elected in March 1903.[3]

The current conference secretary is Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who assumed the office in January 2017.

Officeholder State Term
Edward W. Carmack TN 1903–1907
Robert Owen OK 1907–1911
William E. Chilton WV 1911–1913
Willard Saulsbury Jr. DE 1913–1916
Key Pittman
Acting
NV 1916–1917
William H. King UT 1917–1927
Hugo Black AL 1927–1937
Joshua B. Lee OK 1937–1943
Francis T. Maloney CT 1943–1945
Brien McMahon CT 1945–1952
Thomas Hennings MO 1953–1960
George Smathers FL 1960–1966
Robert Byrd WV 1967–1971
Ted Moss UT 1971–1977
Daniel Inouye HI 1977–1989
David Pryor AR 1989–1995
Barbara Mikulski MD 1995–2005
Debbie Stabenow MI 2005–2007
Patty Murray WA 2007–2017
Tammy Baldwin WI 2017–present

Deputy Caucus Secretary[edit]

On December 8, 2022 Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii was elected to the newly created position of Deputy Caucus Secretary, assuming the office at the beginning of the 118th Congress on January 3, 2023.[4] This was an elevation from his previous leadership role as Senate Democratic Chief Deputy Whip.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bolton, Alexander (January 20, 2021). "Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader". The Hill. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "Conference Secretaries". U.S. Senate.
  3. ^ "Senate Democratic Caucus Organized". U.S. Senate.
  4. ^ "Schumer reelected as Senate majority leader". The Hill.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Donald A. Ritchie (ed) (1999). Minutes of the Senate Democratic Conference: Fifty-eighth through Eighty-eighth Congress, 1903-1964. Washington, D.C. GPO. Available online in PDF or text format.

External links[edit]