WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wendy Long, New York’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate, says she’s not buying the argument that Donald Trump will hurt other GOP candidates on the ballot this November.
In fact, Long argued Thursday, Trump will help her longshot bid to upset U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and thwart his rise to become the next Democratic leader in the Senate.
“In a blue state, I’m counting on Donald Trump to help me tell Chuck Schumer: You’re fired,” Long wrote in a note to supporters.
The odds are against Long in a state where Democrats have a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage. A Siena College poll published this week found likely New York voters favored Schumer (64 percent) over Long (24 percent) with 12 percent undecided.
Long lost her previous U.S. Senate bid in 2012 to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won by a landslide, 72 percent to 26 percent.
But Long says the dynamic will be different this year with Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee for president, at the top of the ticket in New York.
“The crowd is running out of steam — and time,” Long said. “All of its attacks – that he’s as liberal as Hillary Clinton, anti-immigrant, or a con man who will say anything to be elected — have failed. But perhaps the most absurd criticism of the Trump Deniers is the argument that he would hurt Republicans ‘down ticket.’ In fact, the opposite is true.”
Long said a similar scenario played out among establishment Republicans in the 1980 presidential election when some warned that Ronald Reagan would be “a divisive drag on the whole GOP ticket.”
It turned out Republicans picked up 12 seats and control of the U.S. Senate that year in the biggest swing since 1958, she said. The GOP also picked up 34 new House seats in 1980.
Long said she’s rejecting the advice of party leaders to avoid Trump and focus on local issues in New York. Instead, she’s firmly tying her candidacy to Trump in his home state.
“Trump’s presence in the race — and my confidence that he would win not only the GOP nomination but also the presidency — emboldened me to jump into the 2016 election to take on Chuck Schumer, the poster boy of the professional political class in Washington whose chokehold on our country Trump will break,” Long wrote in her note .
Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman and former GOP candidate for governor who is among Trump’s top allies in New York, emailed Long’s note to his supporters on Thursday.
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