Wendy Long, the Manhattan Republican running for U.S. Senate, said Sunday she expects to ride an anti-establishment wave to unseat Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“There’s a movement going on in our country right now. It is people of both parties who are fed up with the professional political class in Washington,” Long said at the annual meeting of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association at the Hilton Long Island/Huntington in Melville. “Chuck Schumer is the face of that political class.”
Long’s appearance before the National Rifle Association affiliate was her first since she secured the Republican, Conservative and Reform parties’ nominations this month.
Long, an attorney who lost to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012, told a few dozen members of the NRA affiliate she would protect the Second Amendment.
She said that in January, as she considered whether to challenge Schumer, her 15-year-old son had a gun pulled on him in a Bronx pizza parlor.
“It drove home to me again the fundamental nature of our Second Amendment rights,” Long said.
After the speech, she said the state’s restrictive gun laws make it too hard for people to get permits to carry concealed weapons, though she doesn’t support lowering the minimum age to obtain a concealed carry permit.
Long, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, applauded Senate Republicans’ blocking President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. She said the vacancy on the top court is best filled by the next president.
Schumer has called for Republicans to hold hearings on Garland. A campaign spokesman declined to comment Sunday.
Long faces tough odds against Schumer, whose campaign war chest has $24.2 million. Long, meanwhile, still is $292,816 in debt from her 2012 campaign, which Gillibrand won with 72 percent of the vote.
At Sunday’s event, Stu Cohen, a retired federal disaster manager from Baldwin, said he liked that she was a political outsider.
“The bottom line is we have a political establishment that’s not being supported by the people,” Cohen, 68, said. He is also supporting Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary.
Long is a volunteer captain for Trump’s campaign in her congressional district, which is in East Harlem.
“There’s incredible excitement this year,” she said.