Schumer Gets Backing of Former Rival in Reelection Bid

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has already earned the first significant endorsement in his 2016 reelection bid.

Former Senator Al D’Amato, who lost to Schumer in 1998 after calling him a “putzhead,” told the New York Post on Tuesday that he’ll back his former rival in 2016.

“Schumer has been an excellent senator. I will vote for him. I will support him,” D’Amato told the NY Post. “When Schumer defeated me, I wanted him to be a good senator — and he has been.”

He also cited Schumer’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal as a factor in backing his reelection bid. “That made it easier for me to support him,” D’Amato said.

Schumer was one of four Democratic Senators to oppose the Iran deal, joining Senate Republicans in a vote to end the filibuster, which ultimately failed.

As Schumer was deliberating his decision over the Iran deal, Republicans and Jewish leaders warned the senior Jewish Senator with a tough reelection challenge. “New York Senator Charles Schumer has the votes to stop this madness,” Jeffrey Wiesenfeld said during a Stop Iran Rally on Times Square on July 22, 2015. “If this deal is not stopped, New York voters will know whom to blame – we will throw you the hell out.”

But after Schumer announced his opposition to the deal, Wiesenfield sounded more welcoming. In a conversation with Jewish Insider, Wiesenfeld said resources should now be directed to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who supported the deal, in 2018.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 54 percent of New York State voters approve the job Schumer is doing, and 56% want him to be reelected in 2016. His opposition to the nuclear deal likely elevated his approval ratings, 24 percent of the voters claim, and 55 percent of participants say it won’t affect their vote.

A Siena Research poll showed Schumer with a 61/29 fav/unfav rating, and 68/22 favorability rating among Jewish voters in New York. By a 49-37 percentage point margin, New Yorkers say they will vote for his reelection, according to the poll.

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