Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate

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The Senate Democratic Caucus (or Conference) is the formal organization of the current 44 Democratic Senators in the United States Senate. In the 114th Congress, the Democratic Caucus additionally includes two independent senators who formally caucus with the Democrats for the purpose of committee assignments and Senate organization, bringing the total to 46 members. The primary organizational front for Democrats in the Senate, its primary function is communicating the party's message to and unifying all of its members. The two independent members are Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.


Effective with the start of the 114th Congress, the conference leadership is as follows:

In addition, Reid added additional positions to the caucus leadership, following the loss of Majority status in the Senate in the 2014 Senate elections:

Senator Patrick Leahy Vermont (VT) is also considered an honorary member of the conference leadership due to his position as President pro tempore emeritus.


The Caucus was formally organized on March 6, 1903, electing a chairman to preside over its members and a secretary to keep minutes. Until that time, the caucus was often disorganized, philosophically divided, and had neither firm written rules of governance nor a clear mission.

List of caucus chairmen[edit]

Since 1920 the Caucus Chairperson has also concurrently served as the floor leader

Dates Senator State
-1877 John W. Stevenson Kentucky
1877–1881 William A. Wallace Pennsylvania
1881–1885 George H. Pendleton Ohio
1885–1890 James B. Beck Kentucky
1890–1898 Arthur P. Gorman Maryland
1898–1899 David Turpie Indiana
1899–1903 James K. Jones Arkansas
1903–1906 Arthur P. Gorman Maryland
1906–1907 Joseph C. S. Blackburn Kentucky
1907–1909 Charles A. Culberson Texas
1909–1911 Hernando D. Money Mississippi
1911–1913 Thomas S. Martin Virginia
1913–1917 John Worth Kern Indiana
1917–1919 Thomas S. Martin Virginia
1920–1923 Oscar W. Underwood Alabama
1923–1937 Joseph T. Robinson Arkansas
1937–1949 Alben W. Barkley Kentucky
1949–1951 Scott W. Lucas Illinois
1951–1953 Ernest W. McFarland Arizona
1953–1961 Lyndon Johnson Texas
1961–1977 Mike Mansfield Montana
1977–1989 Robert Byrd West Virginia
1989–1995 George J. Mitchell Maine
1995–2005 Tom Daschle South Dakota
2005–present Harry Reid Nevada

Vice Chairmanship[edit]

After the victory of Democrats in the midterm elections of 2006, an overwhelming majority of the caucus thought of awarding Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a position in the hierarchy for defeating six incumbent Republicans. In response, Democratic Leader Harry Reid created the position of the Vice Chairman, making it the third-ranking Democratic position, after Leader and Whip.



  • Donald A. Ritchie (ed). Minutes of the Senate Democratic Conference: Fifty-eighth through Eighty-eighth Congress, 1903-1964. Washington, D.C., GPO, 1999. Available online in PDF or Text format.

External links[edit]