Democrats Hold the U.S. Senate - and What That Means for Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer says, "the best is yet to come."

It wasn't a surprise that New York's Democratic Senators Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand got to keep their seats in the nation's capital. But the implications of the election chess game means that they're feeling the reverberations of the rest of the country's decisions.

Schumer, the third-ranking member of the Senate, was widely speculated to step into Harry Reid's shoes, if Reid had lost his tight race with Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle in Nevada. Schumer, in the Senate since 1998, has a reputation for being both outspoken on progressive issues and media-savvy.

"I am honored, I am humbled, and I promise I will not let you down," Schumer told supporters in his acceptance speech. He spoke about reinvigorating the New York economy and "stretching the middle-class paycheck."

Schumer has significant support among Senate Democrats, partially because as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he was in charge of distributing money for candidates in the 2008 election, in which Democrats made big wins.

Gillibrand also focused on the economy in her acceptance speech. "I want to see 'made in America' again, right here in New York State!" she said. Gillibrand also committed herself to rebuilding New York manufacturing and expanding "high tech, biotech and green energy."

Harry Reid held off his challenger in Nevada, but if the Senate Majority Leader had lost, things would have been awkward at home for Schumer—because the other obvious contender to be Senate Majority Leader would have been his Washington roommate Richard Durbin, Senator from Illinois and Democratic Party Whip, the second-highest ranking Senate member. Neither Durbin nor Schumer dared say anything about the possibility before Reid's race was called.