Majority Leader Durbin?

Harry Reid's problems could be Illinois' gain

The Chicago political machine's firm grip on American politics may get even firmer if current polling in Nevada holds up: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in trouble, and our very own Dick Durbin is next in line for the job.

Reid's seat is the fourth most likely to change hands in the 2010 elections, according to the savant and former Chicagoan Nate Silver.

It's still early, but Reid's vulnerability is real. Just ask Tom Daschle, the previous Democratic senate leader, who was turned out by South Dakotans in 2004. (Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley was also sent packing by home state voters, in 1994.)

Polls show Reid trailing in match-ups against two Republicans vying for their party's nomination, including the son of famed UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Even a state representative who isn't in the race is 10 points ahead of Reid.

Durbin would "almost certainly" take over if Reid loses, according to Hot Air's Ed Morrissey.

Despite some stumbles in the last six months - including his and Reid's ham-handed handling of Roland Burris's appointment - Durbin is popular among colleagues and known as a tough, knowledgable and articulate partisan fighter. He also has the ear of the president - more so than Reid.

Now, Durbin is technically a Downstater. Technically. Let's just say he's on very good terms with Chicago and is a full member of the family.

But can the country take more Chicago in its political diet?

Just think: Rahm Emanuel hesitated to give up his congressional seat to become President Obama's chief of staff because he dreamed of becoming Speaker of the House.

There's still time, Rahm. Maybe we'll make a clean sweep of it.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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