Voters in New York will elect one senator this year, as Kirsten Gillibrand is not up for reelection. The candidates are incumbent four-term Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Joe Pinion.
Senate Majority Leader Schumer has been New York’s senator for four terms. He has also served in the New York State Assembly and the House of Representatives.
In his campaign, Schumer asserts that he works to attain economic growth through supporting domestic manufacturing, infrastructure development, research funding and “high-tech start-ups.”
While in office, Schumer created the American Opportunity Tax Credit, an act that grants $2,500 in tax credit each year to middle-class college students and their families who may be struggling to pay for higher education. Schumer has emphasized the importance of affordable high-quality education to all Americans.
Schumer also intends to strengthen the Superfund clean-up program, a federal initiative that cleans contaminated land and water around the nation.
With crime, Schumer claims to take a tough stance, from addressing illegal weapons trade to expanding the Drug Enforcement Administration, a federal law enforcement agency which combats drug trafficking and distribution.
Schumer emphasized the importance of combatting terrorism while also protecting the privacy of citizens. In an effort to further these goals, he helped pass the Urban Area Security Initiative, the Transportation Security and Port Security Grant and the Securing the Cities grant program, all of which provide funding in order to protect against terrorism.
Alyssa Cornell, a freshman majoring in psychology, voted for Schumer using an absentee ballot.
“I know that he lines up more with my views as the democratic candidate,” Cornell said. “He’s pro-choice, which is a big thing especially right now with everything going on in the Supreme Court. I know that I live in the city, so I would be okay even if something were to happen, but it is comforting to know there is a politician who is high up that will protect my rights.”
Schumer released a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. He also voted in favor of bills such as the Women’s Health Protections Act, which would allow women access to abortions in nearly any circumstance.
Not all of Schumer’s stances agree with Cornell’s values, however.
“There are certain things that I disagree with him on, like the death penalty,” Cornell said.
In 1994, Schumer wrote and sponsored H.R.4032, a bill that expanded usage of the death penalty. Years later, Schumer expressed verbal support of usage of the death penalty for a suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing.
“But as a whole, I just think that because of the fact that I line up more with the viewpoints of democrats, we line up more in terms of most things,” Cornell said. “He was very vocally anti-Trump, which I appreciated, and he did a lot of work towards ending the gender pay gap as well, which I think is very important.”
According to Schumer’s website, women were still making only 82 cents on the dollar compared to men for doing the same work in 2021, and the “pay disparity is even larger for women of color.”
Schumer backed and expressed support of the Paycheck Fairness and Equity act, which would work to close the disparity in wages between men and women.
Other issues Schumer values are benefits and services for veterans, canceling student loan debt, addressing climate change, strengthening Medicare, sustainable hunting and fishing practices and drug rehabilitation programs.
Schumer’s opponent, Joe Pinion, is the first Black nominee for a Senate position in the state’s history. He is a self-proclaimed “grassroots” politician, who seeks to “push back against career corporate politicians.”
Before running for the Senate, Pinion was the director for youth development at Morris Height Health Center and also worked as a political news commentator, appearing on talk shows and public networks.
On his ticket, Pinion prioritizes addressing poverty that working-class New Yorkers face by addressing the cost of higher education and student loan debt.
According to his website, he proposes tying university tuition costs to earning potential, with punitive measures taken on their tax-exempt status if the price was inflated. He also expressed interest in possibly canceling student loan debt, as well as recuperation for those who already paid it.
Pinion also claims to advocate for healthcare and non-governmental clean energy solutions.
Both candidates must vie for votes across the entire state in order to get elected.
“When figuring out who is going to win an election, the most important factor is partisanship of the potential voters,” Professor John Barry Ryan, the director of undergraduate studies for political science at Stony Brook University, said. “New York State is overwhelmingly Democratic; so, there is basically no chance Schumer loses. Schumer is running ads with the hope of driving up turnout among Democrats who might otherwise not vote because the senate race is a foregone conclusion.”
Charles Joseph Burgardt, a junior majoring in history and political science and secretary of the College Democrats, echoes this sentiment.
“I don’t think Pinion stands a chance against Schumer, who has been in office since 1999,” Burgardt said in an email to The Statesman. “Pinion’s name has never been mentioned in the various political groups I’m in, which leads me to believe his campaign is at a disadvantage.”
Voting for the Midterms will officially take place on Nov. 8. Early voting takes place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6 as an alternative.
If registered voters are unable to vote in person during either timeframe, they can send a request for an absentee ballot by Oct. 24. They must then return the completed ballot either through mail or in person by Nov. 8.