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Sen. Patrick Leahy Ranks #4 in Senate

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Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy's open contempt for former Democratic caucus member Sen. Joe Lieberman nabbed plenty of headlines (Sen. Bernie Sanders' quick follow-through made for quite the one-two punch). Of course, Lieberman will keep his plum chairmanship but lose a minor subcommittee chairmanship.

Despite the outcome not going his way (his colleagues kept Lieberman in his post by a 42-13 tally) he has something to crow about.

After the Senate shakeout in Alaska, with convicted felon and Republican Sen. Ted Stevens losing to Democrat Mark Begich, Leahy is moving up in seniority.

Stevens had been in office longer than Leahy, but with the Alaskan being sent packing it means Leahy is now the fourth-most senior member of the entire US Senate — and ahead of all Republicans.

The Democrats ahead of Leahy are Sens. Robert Byrd (WV), Ted Kennedy (MA) and Daniel Inouye (HI). Until last night, the most senior Republican was Stevens, and after him Sen. Richard Lugar (IN).

Sen. Inouye will be the new Appropriations Committee chairman. Leahy sits on that panel, too, and will be the most senior member after the chairman. Leahy heads up the Senate Judiciary Committee.