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Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer (born November 23, 1950) is currently the senior U.S. Senator from the state of New York, serving since 1999. A Democrat, in 2005, he became chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In November 2006, he was elected to the new post of Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In this position, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin.
In January 2007, he published a book called Positively American about how Democrats could reclaim middle-class voters.
Schumer was born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family. His parents were Selma Rosen and Abraham Schumer. He attended public schools in Brooklyn, scoring a 1600 on the SAT, and graduated as the valedictorian from James Madison High School in 1967. Schumer competed for Madison on the It's Academic television quiz show.
He attended Harvard College, where he became interested in politics and campaigned for Eugene McCarthy in 1968. After completing his undergraduate degree, he continued to Harvard Law School, earning his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1974. Schumer passed the New York State Bar Exam in early 1975 but never practiced law, entering politics instead.
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. The Schumers have two daughters, Jessica and Alison. They live on Prospect Park West in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
While Congress is in session, Senator Schumer lives in a rented house with fellow Democratic politicians George Miller, Dick Durbin, and Bill Delahunt.
The same year he graduated from Harvard Law, 1974, he 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. He has never lost an election, and has never held a job outside of politics.
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 reelected 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). The 9th is one of the most Democratic districts in New York City, and Schumer never faced a serious or well-funded Republican opponent during this period.
In 1998, he won the Democratic Senate primary with 51% of the votes against Geraldine Ferraro (21%) and Mark Green (19%). He then received 55% of the vote in the general election, defeating three-term incumbent Republican Al D'Amato (44%).
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% of the vote, the most lopsided margin ever for a statewide election in New York. 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.
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