Sen. Charles Schumer met for dinner last Tuesday with state Independence Party chairman Frank MacKay and Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius, where they discussed an early endorsement from the minor party, sources said. The talks come amid speculation that Daily News Publisher Mort Zuckerman and TV commentator Lawrence Kudlow could run for Senate - with both Schumer and fellow Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand seeking election this year. An early move by the Independence Party - which normally waits until the eleventh hour - could deflate some contenders' aspirations. Schumer declined to comment. MacKay couldn't say when his party might act, but added: "I can't imagine myself or the party endorsing anyone but Chuck Schumer."
- Rick Brand