But Reid may also not even remain minority leader after Tuesday, though Democrats around him exude inside-the-Beltway loyalty to him in public. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 ranking Democrat and a man known for his ambition, told Meet the Press last month that Reid had a lock on the majority leader’s job. But he didn’t extend his optimism to cover what would happen if Democrats suffer a Senate bloodbath on Tuesday and must suddenly anticipate a tough path to regaining Senate control even in 2016, when the electoral map will favor Senate Democrats once again.
Reid himself, normally a picture of blustery self-confidence, has toned down his insistence that he will stay regardless of the electoral outcome. Last year, Roll Call reported that Reid had told them he’d like to stay in leadership till 2022, when he would be 82. Reid indicated to the newspaper that “other Democrats would only get their chance to lead the caucus if they pried the title from his cold, dead hands.” But this year, at a news conference held in September, Reid declined to clarify whether he would stay on as minority leader if his party lost the majority. “I’m not doing any hypotheticals if we lose, because I don’t think we are,” he said…

Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Jeanne Sheehan of New Hampshire refuse to back Reid. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana now says she wants to see “who is running.” Senator Mark Warner of Virginia says the country “could perhaps do better in both parties” in terms of leadership. Sam Nunn, the father of Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn, says his daughter won’t be obligated to back Reid if she wins. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia complains that Reid has been “overprotective” in preventing floor votes on key issues.