Sen. Reid’s endorsement of Schumer to head congressional Dems could be a big plus for NYers

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- He's been the senior senator from New York for more than a decade, and as of Friday morning, Charles Schumer is now positioned to be the senior senator for his whole party, and could possibly soon be the most powerful and important member of the entire U.S. Senate.

The new developments for Schumer, a Democrat, are the result of a major announcement by Sen. Harry Reid, the current Senate minority leader.  Reid, 75, in a video posted on his Facebook page, said a long farewell to the leadership position he's held since 2005

"I'm not going to run for reelection," Reid said in the video, recorded with his wife by his side in their home.  The video was released early Friday morning.  By mid-morning, another image of Reid took the spotlight.  It was video of him with New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, 64.  Around 11:30 Friday morning, Reid publicly announced that he'd endorsed Schumer to be his replacement.

"I think this as close to a done deal as you could get at this point," said Jeanne Zaino, PhD, a professor of political science and expert on campaigns at Iona College and NYU.  Dr. Zaino went on to point out the significance of the nod to Schumer from Reid.

"[Schumer] is going to be one of the most powerful people in the country," Zaino Told PIX11 News.  "For New Yorkers this is going to be a big step forward."

One way in which that's the case is in government spending Schumer has been able to bring to his home district.  The last time so-called earmarks were officially documented, Schumer was ranked sixth of the 100 U.S. senators for securing federal funds for his home state.

Since that list was produced, in 2010, by the watchdog organization, three people above him on the list are no longer in the Senate.

"As minority leader or majority leader, there'll be more of that to come," said Zaino.