Schumer praised Reid as a “beloved leader” in a statement Friday morning and later acknowledged the growing support from colleagues for a leadership bid.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) is cementing his position as the strong favorite to replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.).

Reid endorsed Schumer on Friday, a move that could help him quash a possible leadership challenge.

“I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,” Reid told The Washington Post Friday.

Schumer also won the support of Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), the second-ranking leader.

Schumer, the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee chairman, is now the third-ranking member of Democratic leadership.

Schumer’s aides and allies have long made clear that he would seek to replace Reid when he retired. They say he has broad support among his colleagues after helping to engineer the Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2006 and the filibuster-proof majority in 2008 during his stints as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Reid praised Schumer as “extremely smart” but acknowledged the brash New Yorker would bring a “different style” to the job.

He told the Post he did not expect Schumer to face a challenge from Durbin or Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.), who ranks fourth.

Durbin told the Post on Friday that he would not challenge Schumer for the top post, instead deciding to run for re-election as Democratic Whip at the end of 2016.

“I think you’ve earned it,” Durbin told Schumer, according to the Post.

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