United States Senate Democratic Caucus
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United States Senate Democratic Caucus
Senate Democratic Caucus
Part ofUnited States Senate
Chair and LeaderChuck Schumer (NY)
Floor WhipDick Durbin (IL)
Assistant LeaderPatty Murray (WA)
Vice ChairsMark Warner (VA)
Modern liberalism
Political positionCenter-right to center-left[1]
AffiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue

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 117th Congress, the caucus additionally includes two independent senators (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine) who caucus with the Democrats, bringing the current total to 50 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.

Current leadership

Effective with the start of the 116th Congress, the conference leadership is as follows:


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.


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.

Senator State Term of office Congress
Start End Length
John Stevenson.jpg John W. Stevenson Kentucky December 1873 March 4, 1877 3 years 43rd->44th
William A. Wallace - Brady-Handy.jpg William A. Wallace Pennsylvania March 4, 1877 March 4, 1881 4 years, 0 days 45th->46th
GeorgeHPendleton.png George H. Pendleton Ohio March 4, 1881 March 4, 1885 4 years, 0 days 47th->48th
James B. Beck - Brady-Handy.jpg James B. Beck Kentucky March 4, 1885 May 3, 1890 5 years, 60 days 49th->51st
Arthur Pue Gorman.jpg Arthur Gorman Maryland May 3, 1890 April 1898 7 years 51st->55th
David Turpie.jpg David Turpie Indiana April 1898 March 4, 1899 0 years 55th->55th
James Jones.png James Kimbrough Jones Arkansas December 1899 March 4, 1903 3 years 56th->57th
Arthur Pue Gorman.jpg Arthur Gorman Maryland March 4, 1903 June 4, 1906 3 years, 92 days 58th->59th
Jblackburn.jpg Joseph Blackburn Kentucky June 4, 1906 March 4, 1907 273 days 59th->59th
Charles Allen Culberson.jpg Charles Culberson Texas December 1907 December 1909 1-2 years 60th->61st
Hernando Money - Brady-Handy.jpg Hernando Money Mississippi December 1909 March 4, 1911 1 years 61st->61st
Thomas Staples Martin.jpg Thomas S. Martin Virginia April 1911 March 4, 1913 1 years 62nd->62nd
JohnWKern.jpg John W. Kern Indiana March 4, 1913 March 4, 1917 4 years, 0 days 63rd->64th
Thomas Staples Martin.jpg Thomas S. Martin Virginia March 4, 1917 November 12, 1919 2 years, 253 days 65th->66th
HITCHCOCK, G.M. HONORABLE LCCN2016857525 (cropped).jpg Gilbert Hitchcock (acting) Nebraska November 12, 1919 April 27, 1920 167 days 66th->66th
Oscar W. Underwood.jpg Oscar Underwood Alabama April 27, 1920 December 3, 1923 3 years, 220 days 66th->68th
Joseph T. Robinson cropped.jpg Joe Robinson Arkansas December 3, 1923 July 14, 1937 13 years, 223 days 68th->75th
Alben Barkley, Vice-President.jpg Alben W. Barkley Kentucky July 14, 1937 January 3, 1949 11 years, 173 days 75th->80th
ScottWikeLucas.jpg Scott W. Lucas Illinois January 3, 1949 January 3, 1951 2 years, 0 days 81st->81st
Mcfarland ernest.jpg Ernest McFarland Arizona January 3, 1951 January 3, 1953 2 years, 0 days 82nd->82nd
Senator Lyndon Johnson.jpg Lyndon Johnson Texas January 3, 1953 January 3, 1961 8 years, 0 days 83rd->86th
Mike mansfield cropped.jpg Mike Mansfield Montana January 3, 1961 January 3, 1977 16 years, 0 days 87th->94th
Robert Byrd official portrait.jpg Robert Byrd West Virginia January 3, 1977 January 3, 1989 12 years, 0 days 95th->100th
George Mitchell in Tel Aviv July 26, 2009.jpg George J. Mitchell Maine January 3, 1989 January 3, 1995 6 years, 0 days 101st->103rd
Tom Daschle, official Senate photo.jpg Tom Daschle South Dakota January 3, 1995 January 3, 2005 10 years, 0 days 104th->108th
Harry Reid official portrait 2009.jpg Harry Reid Nevada January 3, 2005 January 3, 2017 12 years, 0 days 109th->114th
Chuck Schumer official photo.jpg Chuck Schumer New York January 3, 2017 Incumbent 4 years, 204 days 115th->

Vice chair

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.[] In response, then-Democratic Leader Harry Reid created the position of vice-chair when Democrats formally took control in 2007.[2] 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

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.[3]

The first conference secretary was Sen. Edward W. Carmack of Tennessee, who was elected in March 1903.[4]

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


  1. ^ https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-six-wings-of-the-democratic-party/. Retrieved 2021. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Bolton, Alexander (January 20, 2021). "Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader". The Hill. Retrieved 2021.
  3. ^ "Conference Secretaries". U.S. Senate.
  4. ^ "Senate Democratic Caucus Organized". U.S. Senate.


  • 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

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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