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Patty Murray finally accepts top Democratic fundraising job
Posted by Kyung M. Song
Updated at 10:44 a.m. with statement from Sen. Maria Cantwell.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Patty Murray has accepted the Senate Democrats' top fundraising job for a second time, a gig she is taking on with noticeably more reluctance than when she first volunteered for the post a decade ago.
A person with direct knowledge confirmed Murray's appointment as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. An official announcement is expected at 3 p.m. at the Capitol.
The news ends days of frantic headhunting by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Several candidates -- including initially Murray herself -- rebuffed Reid's overtures to assume charge for raising millions of dollars for Senate Democrats in the 2011-2012 election cycle.
A workhorse with a reputation for collegiality, Murray reportedly was lobbied by some Senate colleagues, including Washington's Maria Cantwell, to take the job. Murray won her fourth term this month after defeating Dino Rossi in her closest Senate race.
Murray's next challenge would be to ensure Cantwell's reelection in 2012 and to defend the seats of 20 other Senate Democrats as well as two independents who caucus with them. Murray's Republican counterpart, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has to guard just 10 seats.
Reid unsuccessfully courted several people for the job, including Senate's No. 3 Democrat, Charles Schumer of New York. Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Mark Warner of Virginia also reportedly turned down the post.
That's a far cry from 2001, when Murray offered herself for the fundraising job to then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Murray was serving her second term in office and had just begun her ascent to the Senate Democratic leadership. She is now the chamber's fourth-ranking Democrat and the only woman in the Senate leadership from either party.
Asked for comment, Cantwell issued this statement:
"Patty Murray is one of the most respected Senators in our caucus and this is a measure of how much her colleagues admire and trust her. She just won a tough campaign by running on principle with a plan to create jobs, get the economy going and move our nation forward. She's the perfect person to help get more Democrats elected to the Senate with that philosophy."
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