State Democrats nominated Sen. Charles Schumer by acclamation for a fourth term at a party meeting Monday in Westchester, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo praised the 65-year-old incumbent as “truly outstanding” and the candidate targeted the Supreme Court’s “hard right” majority for condemnation.
Cuomo started off the program with about 200 people in the room at the DoubleTree hotel in Tarrytown by invoking the “progressive pragmatism” theme of his late father, Mario Cuomo, tying vision to the ability to “get things done.”
The governor elicited the expected boos by invoking Donald Trump’s name. He said he hoped Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. He said of GOP rivals Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz or Sen. Marco Rubio, “they’re all saying the same thing, just at different decibel levels,” and that message is “different is bad.”
Cuomo inveighed against those who “don’t understand what made America great in the first place” and spoke of several instances in which Schumer brought back important resources to the state.
Once nominated with warm accolades from party officials, Schumer, 65, delivered a rah-rah address that spanned the troubles facing the middle class, the need for immigration reform and his expected ascent to Democratic leader in January, “God willing,” to succeed the retiring Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. Schumer briefly hailed Clinton and vowed not to fall out of touch in New York. He also played off his penchant for continually touring the state, from visits to state fairs to Oktoberfest in Lindenhurst.
“That’s who I am,” said Schumer, who was first elected to Congress in 1980 and to the Senate in 1998, ousting incumbent Republican Alfonse D’Amato.
Schumer made his crescendo the fight over the Supreme Court prompted by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The court’s “awful majority,” Schumer said, has “poisoned our politics” with its Citizens Union ruling that tied First Amendment rights to enormous political action committees. He spoke of “hard right” groups contriving lawsuits that once before the high court threaten to abbreviate voting rights, the ability of government to set regulations and collective bargaining.
New York Republicans have yet to pick a challenger to Schumer, whose campaign is famously well-funded. GOP leaders have said they are considering a few prospects.