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New York’s Schumer keeps Senate seat, but majority role up for grabs

Longtime lawmaker easily defeats Newsmax host, looks to hold on to majority leader title after using term to advance key bipartisan legislation

US Senator Chuck Schumer speaks to supporters after he won reelection during the election night party for New York Governor Kathy Hochul, November 8, 2022, in New York. (AP/Mary Altaffer)
US Senator Chuck Schumer speaks to supporters after he won reelection during the election night party for New York Governor Kathy Hochul, November 8, 2022, in New York. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK (AP) — US Sen. Chuck Schumer was elected to a fifth term Tuesday, easily defeating a Republican political commentator, but will have to wait to learn whether he’ll be able to keep his title as Senate majority leader.

The Jewish Brooklyn native, 71, defeated Joe Pinion, who hosted a program on the conservative TV channel Newsmax and faced long odds in a state where Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans.

At an election night gathering for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, awaiting news on her own campaign results, Schumer promised the crowd, “I will keep this fight up for as long as it takes to win.”

On social media, he said, “Representing New York in the U.S. Senate is the honor of a lifetime. Thank you, New York, for putting your faith in me and giving me the opportunity to continue to serve and deliver for you!”

While Schumer’s race lacked suspense, he’ll likely be on the edge of his seat throughout the night, closely monitoring race returns elsewhere that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate in 2023.

If Republicans win, Schumer’s tenure as majority leader will come to an end.

Schumer first won election to the Senate in 1998 after nine terms in the House of Representatives. He became majority leader last year thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote in the Senate, split 50-50 after the November 2020 election.

Illustrative: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., prepares to speak at the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, in Washington, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Schumer has used his party’s fragile majority to pass major legislation including a bipartisan gun violence bill and President Joe Biden’s health, climate and economic package.

Back home in New York, Schumer is known for his Sunday news conferences on bread-and-butter issues ranging from food safety to robocalls to the dangers of teen vaping. His topic on a recent Sunday was shrinking seats on commercial airliners.

Schumer defeated his challengers by wide margins in his 2004, 2010 and 2016 reelection campaigns.

Pinion, 39, served as a spokesperson for a conservative organization that backs “free market” solutions to climate change, and as a political commentator, most recently as the host of “Saturday Agenda” on Newsmax.

Schumer was confident enough in his own victory this year to transfer $15 million from his campaign account to other Democratic Senate candidates and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, the party’s campaign arm for senators.

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