Republican Wendy Long calls New York’s senior senator ‘the face of the failed, corrupt establishment’

Wendy Long would prefer to be spending more time with her children. Instead, she is trying to unseat Charles Schumer, New York’s senior U.S. senator.

Mrs. Long, a Republican, is in the race because Mr. Schumer is, as she described him, “the very face of the failed, corrupt establishment that has gotten our country into the mess it’s in now.”

The 56-year-old Mrs. Long is no a stranger to politics. A former spokeswoman for two former U.S. senators, Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire and William Armstrong of Colorado, she challenged Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. New York’s junior senator won re-election.

“The people I talk to all around this state, the people I see everyday, in my own neighborhood right here in East Harlem, they’re suffering,” Mrs. Long, an attorney by profession, said in an interview in her Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking Central Park.

Mr. Schumer, a Democrat seeking a fourth six-year term, declined to comment on Mrs. Long.

Many of the senator’s allies and political observers, however, said the Nov. 8 election might as well be over.

“Wendy Long is totally unknown,” said Doug Muzzio a professor of public affairs at Baruch College in Manhattan. “She doesn’t have a chance. If anything is close to a sure thing, this is it.”

Mrs. Long said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump inspired her to enter this year’s race.

Like Mr. Trump, Mrs. Long said she wants a wall built between the U.S. and Mexico, favors strict immigration laws, worries that dishonest politicians are destroying the economy and believes the nation is too politically correct.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and Northwestern University School of Law, Mrs. Long lives with her husband, Arthur Long, their two teenagers and the family’s three dogs. Each dog has a cushion on a sofa in front of the front door.

Mrs. Long loves animals. Her home is decorated with artworks depicting rabbits and horses. She has assisted the city’s Parks Enforcement Patrol as a mounted auxiliary officer in Central Park.

Mrs. Long met her husband while they were both working as clerks for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the 1990s.

“Our children are the first 100% purebred Justice Thomas kids,” she said as she sat in her living room, with a framed picture of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Thomas displayed on a small table.

After working with an organization that advocated for judicial nominees of former President George W. Bush, Mrs. Long took a hiatus from her career to home-school her children.

Her son, Arthur, was expelled from the private St. Bernard’s School, near the family’s home, for chanting a rap lyric that included a racial slur; the chant had been directed to an African-American student, Mrs. Long said.

Mrs. Long said other students chanted the racial slur but weren’t expelled because they denied their involvement to school officials.

School administrators, she said, thought her son led the chant; she enlisted a lawyer and had her son take a polygraph test to prove he wasn’t the leader. She said her son was honest but wasn’t treated fairly.

St. Bernard’s doesn’t comment on “statements made by candidates in furtherance of their political campaigns,” said a spokesman for the school.

Mrs. Long said her son’s expulsion was as an example of a broader problem nationwide.

“Our country is being subsumed by political correctness, and that I think is driven by the phenomenon of bigness,” she said. “It’s big government, it’s big corporations, it’s big drug companies, it’s big media. Everything is getting so big that it’s too big to fail.”

Mrs. Long said the thought of Mr. Schumer running unopposed upset her because it would have resembled “some election in the Soviet Union.”

She said she has “a small chance” of unseating Mr. Schumer.

Still, Mrs. Long said she has other things on her mind. She might mount a horse again soon for the auxiliary unit in Central Park.

Write to Zolan Kanno-Youngs at [email protected]