ENG: Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer (born November 23, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in 1998, he defeated three-term Republican incumbent Al D'Amato by a margin of 55%–44%. He was easily re-elected in 2004 by a margin of 71%–24% and in 2010 by a margin of 66%–33%.
Before his election to the U.S. Senate, Schumer served in the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1999. He represented New York's 16th congressional district, which was later redistricted to the 10th congressional district in 1983 and to the 9th congressional district in 1993. A native of Brooklyn and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he was a three-term member of the New York State Assembly, serving from 1975 to 1980.
Schumer was chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2009, in which post he oversaw a total of 14 Democratic gains in the Senate in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
Elected Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate, in 2006, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. In November 2010, he was also chosen to hold the additional role of chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee starting at the opening of the 112th Congress.
State Assemblyman and Congressman
In 1974, Schumer ran for, and was elected to the New York State Assembly, becoming, at age 23, the youngest member of the New York legislature since Theodore Roosevelt. He served three terms, from 1975–1980. He has never lost an election.
In 1980, 16th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat of Republican Jacob Javits. Schumer ran for Holtzman's vacated House seat and won.
He was re-elected eight times from the Brooklyn and Queens-based district, which changed numbers twice in his tenure (it was numbered the 16th from 1981 to 1983, the 10th from 1983 to 1993 and the 9th from 1993).
United States Senator
In 1998, Schumer ran for Senate. He won the Democratic Senate primary with 51 percent of the votes against Geraldine Ferraro (21 percent) and Mark Green (19 percent). He then received 55 percent of the vote in the general election, defeating three-term incumbent Republican Al D'Amato (44 percent).
In 2004, Schumer handily won re-election against Republican Assemblyman Howard Mills of Middletown and Conservative Marilyn O'Grady. Many New York Republicans were dismayed by the selection of Mills over the conservative Michael Benjamin, who held significant advantages over Mills in both fundraising and organization. Benjamin publicly accused GOP Chairman Sandy Treadwell and Governor George Pataki of trying to muscle him out of the senate race and undermine the democratic process. Schumer defeated Mills, the second-place finisher, by 2.8 million votes and won reelection with 71 percent of the vote. Schumer won every county in the state except one, Hamilton County in the Adirondacks, the least populated and most Republican county in the state. Mills conceded defeat minutes after the polls closed, before returns had come in.
A SurveyUSA poll from April 2009 placed Schumer's approval rating at 62%, with 31% disapproving.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Schumer was the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, part of the Democratic Senate Leadership, with primary responsibility for raising funds and recruiting candidates for the Democrats in the 2006 Senate election. When he took this post, he announced that he would not run for Governor of New York in 2006, as many had speculated he would. This step avoided a potentially divisive gubernatorial primary election in 2006 between Schumer and Eliot Spitzer, then New York's attorney general.
His tenure as DSCC chair was very successful. In the 2006 elections, the Democratic Party gained six seats in the Senate, defeating incumbents in each of those races and regaining control of the Senate for the first time since 2002. Of the closely contested races in the Senate in 2006, the Democrats lost only one, in Tennessee. Senate Majority Leader-to-be Harry Reid persuaded Schumer to serve another term as DSCC chair.
In September 2005, two staff employees of the DSCC illegally obtained a copy of the credit report of Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael S. Steele, a Republican senatorial candidate, posing as him and using his Social Security number. Upon learning this, the committee's executive director notified the U.S. attorney's office, and suspended the involved staffers. They are currently under investigation by the FBI. Schumer has not been implicated in the incident, and a spokesperson for the DSCC has said, "Chuck's only involvement was to report this matter to the authorities immediately after first learning about it."
In 2009, for the 111th Congress, Schumer has been succeeded as the DSCC chair by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
Schumer and his wife, Iris Weinshall, were married September 21, 1980. The ceremony took place at Windows on the World at the top of the north tower of the World Trade Center.Weinshall was the New York City Commissioner of Transportation from 2000 to 2007.The Schumers have two children, Jessica and Alison. They live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Schumer told a Utica television station that his father was raised in the Utica area.
While Congress is in session, Schumer lives in a rented house with fellow Democratic politicians George Miller, Dick Durbin, and Bill Delahunt.
In January 2007, he published a book called Positively American, outlining strategies with which Democrats could court middle-class voters.