With current Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (search) of Nevada set to win the top Democratic spot in the 109th Congress now that leader Tom Daschle (search) has lost his re-election bid, the door is open to fill the spot being vacated by Reid.
Two members are said to be interested in the post of the Democrats' chief strategist — Sen. Dick Durbin (search) of Illinois and Byron Dorgan (search) of North Dakota. Dorgan won re-election Tuesday with 68 percent of the vote.
Part of the decision may be based on who would be the best complement to Reid, whose reputation is one of a more soft-spoken behind-the-scenes tactician. A hard-edged fighter may be the best choice.
Dorgan has more seniority than Durbin but came under fire from his colleagues last fall when he voted for the Republican-backed plan to overhaul Medicare (search). But as a member of the Democratic Policy Committee, Dorgan has also been aggressive in providing information and holding hearings on topics on some of the few issues that have proved politically beneficial to Democrats, including contract abuses in Iraq, the importation of prescription drugs and job outsourcing.
Dorgan has already started making phone calls, a Senate Democratic aide told FOX News. The aide said he has been a "real center pole of caucus activity" and has clearly endeared himself to colleagues.
A vote in the whip race will take place next week, at the same time that Reid will seek the seat as top Democrat in the chamber.
On Wednesday, Reid announced his intention to assume the role currently held by Daschle, who lost his bid to reclaim the Senate seat from South Dakota. Republican Rep. Jim Thune (search) will now represent the state.
The race, which gave Thune a 51-49 edge, was one of the most expensive U.S. Senate races in The Mount Rushmore State's history. Daschle became the first Senate party leader in more than 50 years to be voted out of office.
In a press conference outside his office in Las Vegas, Reid, who has been in office since 1986, said he had enough support from the Democratic caucus to be the next leader of the party.
"As I said, in this business, I learned a long time ago ... all you need to do is count. I have more than 30 votes now. And I have calls from 10 or more senators coming in. And you can do the numbers as well as I do," he said.
He also stated that President Bush called and offered his congratulations.
"I've disagreed with some of the things he's done. There's no need to talk about the disagreements at this stage. We have to work together ... and the president has reached out to me, I appreciate that very much. He had no reason to call me other than the fact that he knows he's going to have to work with me. I look forward to working with him," Reid said.
Reid has been serving as Senate minority whip, the Democrats' second in command, since 1999, and was ready to take over Daschle's position back in 2003 when Daschle was seriously considering a bid for the presidency.
During the announcement, Reid declined to outline his vision for the Democratic agenda, saying only that it would include efforts on behalf of health care, education and the environment. He also said a top priority will be the war in Iraq.
"We have a Democratic agenda that is still in progress," Reid said. "We have to be willing to work together but yet stand up for what we believe to be appropriate principles. And I'm going to do that."
FOX News' Julie Asher contributed to this report.