U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, his party’s leader in waiting of the upper chamber, has thrown himself into California’s all-Democratic Senate contest, endorsing Kamala Harris as the successor to Barbara Boxer.
Schumer offered his formal support for Harris at a small donor reception closing out the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
“We certainly want a (Senate) majority,” Schumer told those gathered in the room. “But we also need really high-quality people as part of that majority. People who understand what America needs. People who are willing to stand up to the special interests. People who have an intelligence, an articulateness, a compassion that will make a difference.
“I know Kamala,” he added to applause. “I have endorsed her. I am helping her. And I hope you will do everything you can for her.”
Schumer had previously praised Harris as an up-and-comer when she spoke last week at a breakfast hosted by the New York delegation, saying the 51-year-old state attorney general was “one of the people who I always had my eye on.”
Schumer’s endorsement came after those from other leading Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, in Harris’ campaign against U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange.
Last month, Harris won the support of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Sanchez, who has served in Congress for two decades, lashed out at the president, saying California voters are “deeply concerned about the entrenched political establishment, which has failed to work for them.” The same political establishment, Sanchez charged, would rather have a “coronation instead of an election.”
Soon after, Sanchez said in a Spanish-language interview that Obama’s endorsement was in part based on race: “She is African American. He is, too,” she said. Sanchez was not invited to speak at events organized by the California Democratic Party and ducked questions from reporters all week in Philadelphia.
Harris has called on her to apologize to Obama.