U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sailed to victory Tuesday night to secure a fourth term in office, allowing the veteran lawmaker to squarely focus on a slew of competitive races nationwide that could flip the power of the Senate in Democrats’ favor.
Schumer, the third-ranking Democratic Senator, defeated his Republican challenger, Wendy Long, a Massachusetts native and litigator from New York City, according to the Associated Press.
New York’s senior U.S. Senator is in line to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the current minority leader in the Senate. But if Democrats can win four of the 34 seats up for grab—nine of which are hotly contested—and Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the White House, then his party would regain control, making him the majority leader. (In this scenario, Democrats and Republicans would be tied, but a Vice President Tim Kaine would tip the scale as the president of the Senate.)
Even if Clinton loses, Democrats could gain control by winning five seats.
If Democrats recapture the Senate and hold on to the White House, then New York would boast two of the three highest-ranking positions in government.
The Brooklyn-born Schumer, 65, has come along way. Despite his powerful status in Washington, D.C., he prefers to appear like a fighter for the working-man. Schumer is notorious for holding Sunday news conference addressing local issues. Even so, he’s often called upon to douse flames in the nation’s capital and furiously take on Republicans.
At least publicly, Schumer has not made his potential ascension a hallmark of his re-election bid.
When asked about potentially joining up with a president from New York—which hasn’t happened since Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt was in the White House—would mean for the state, he demurred this summer in an interview with a Press reporter.
“There was a lot of attention during the primaries about ‘New York values,’” he said, referring to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) off-putting remarks during his bid for the GOP nomination. “And all I know about that is the New York values I learned from my father, a World War II vet who ran a small exterminator business, and my mother, a loving homemaker; we’re all about hard work, caring about your neighbors and doing well in school and in life. I happen to think those values are universal and play nicely on the national stage, too.”
According to an NBC News analysis, all but one of the competitive Senate races are concentrated in states where Republican incumbents swept to victory during the rise of the Tea Party in 2010 and are for the first time up for re-election.
The races in Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois could come down to how well candidates at the top-of-the-ticket fair in those respective states. Several races are in competitive swing states of Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Schumer accomplished his goal, but voters outside New York will decide whether he and his fellow Democrats wrestle control of the Senate.