Schumer, Long are study in con­trasts

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Hill

AL­BANY >> Sen. Charles Schumer is an es­tab­lished in­cum­bent in line to be­come the cham­ber’s top Demo­crat, run­ning for re-elec­tion against a lit­tle-known, Trump-em­brac­ing lawyer who lost her last race in a land­slide.

Repub­li­can Wendy Long has at­tracted scant at­ten­tion, rel­a­tively lit­tle money and, if polls are right, has the slimmest chance of de­feat­ing the three-term Demo­crat. As Schumer airs TV ads around the state pro­mot­ing his work for New York­ers, Long casts her­self and Don­ald Trump as fel­low war­riors fight­ing the cor­rupt, elite es­tab­lish­ment.

“Some­where along the way, the for­got­ten men and women that Don­ald Trump speaks about — the reg­u­lar, or­di­nary work­ing peo­ple — have been left be­hind,” Long told a Women for Trump rally in Al­bany this month. “And that is what in­spired me to jump into this race along­side Don­ald Trump.”

Though Trump has been badly trail­ing Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton in the pres­i­den­tial race in New York polls, Long is link­ing her­self to a can­di­date with a fer­vent fol­low­ing among many Repub­li­cans. The 56-year-old New York City lawyer’s con­ser­va­tive cre­den­tials also in­clude stints clerk­ing for U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas and as chief coun­sel to the Ju­di­cial Con­fir­ma­tion Net­work, a con­ser­va­tive ad­vo­cacy group.

Long ran a low-bud­get but ag­gres­sive cam­paign in 2012 as Demo­cratic Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand sought her first full term; Gil­li­brand won 72 per­cent to 26 per­cent.

A Siena poll of likely vot­ers re­leased Wed­nes­day points to a sim­i­lar dy­namic in this race, with Schumer sup­ported by 66 per­cent to Long’s 27 per­cent. About three­quar­ters of the re­spon­dents ei­ther didn’t know who Long was or had no opin­ion about her.

Schumer, 65, was first elected

to Congress in 1980 and has not faced a se­ri­ous chal­lenge in this heav­ily Demo­cratic state since de­feat­ing Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Sen. Al­fonse D’Amato in 1998. He is ex­pected to suc­ceed re­tir­ing Sen. Harry Reid of Ne­vada as leader of Se­nate Democrats next year, mean­ing he would be­come ma­jor­ity leader if Democrats re­take the Se­nate.

Though he has a rep­u­ta­tion as a savvy op­er­a­tor in Wash­ing­ton, he of­ten high­lights small-bore is­sues back home, such as com­put­er­ized ticket scalp­ing, and is known for tire­lessly vis­it­ing every cor­ner of the state.

“I’ll go to the State Fair or the oys­ter fest on Long Is­land or a Taste of Buf­falo and I’ll spend four or five hours there, shak­ing hands,” Schumer said this week af­ter a stop in Sch­enec­tady to pro­mote train safety. “And peo­ple say, ‘Why do you do it? Peo­ple know you.’ Fifty peo­ple will pass you by say, ‘Hello’ or ‘Nice job.’ But the 51st will stop and say some­thing. And if you’re there for three hours, you’ll talk to 50 or 60 peo­ple.”

Long dis­misses Schumer as a “phony” and likens his reg­u­lar news con­fer­ences on rel­a­tively mi­nor is­sues like caf­feinated peanut but­ter as a “bread-and-cir­cuses rou­tine.”

Schumer de­clined to ad­dress crit­i­cism from Long and said he’s fo­cused on do­ing his job.

To the de­gree that Schumer shows signs of run­ning a po­lit­i­cal race, it ap­pears to be against no one in par­tic­u­lar. His cam­paign ads high­light his ef­forts to fun­nel aid to New York af­ter the Sept. 11 at­tacks and nat­u­ral disas­ters, keep­ing the Buf­falo Bills from mov­ing and pro­mot­ing Greek yogurt pro­duc­tion in up­state New York.

Though Schumer has taken in $25 mil­lion for his cam­paign, he dis­bursed $6.2 mil­lion to help other Democrats as he works to re­take the Se­nate ma­jor­ity. Long’s lat­est fil­ing showed the cam­paign with $121,673 on hand.

Long has re­lied on so­cial me­dia and vol­un­teers to get her word out. She’ll also get a chance to take on Schumer di­rectly when the two de­bate on Oct. 30.

The lone de­bate is on a Sun­day night op­po­site an NFL game, nine days be­fore the elec­tion.

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