New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) is having a moment. He is widely considered the top candidate to replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, and has already received several high-profile endorsements.
If you don't know much about the New York senator, this gem from the Washington Post archives -- written during Schumer's 1998 campaign against GOP Sen. Alfonse D'Amato -- still resonates nearly 20 years later:
"For the first time, the junior senator from New York, Alfonse M. D'Amato, has a challenger who plays politics as he does: tireless to the point of mania, armed with great wads of money and unashamedly eager to poke a stick in his enemy's eye.
The problem's name is Charles E. Schumer. He is the son of a Brooklyn exterminator, the smartest kid in his Flatbush high school, a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law, a state assemblyman at age 23 and a congressman from Brooklyn since he was 29.
Now 47 and having never lost an election, Schumer is a center-left Democrat who disagrees with Republican D'Amato on virtually everything. Yet when it comes to the tactics that win elections, Schumer and D'Amato drink from the same assassin's cup.
Like D'Amato, Schumer is an infamous publicity hound. Bob Dole once said the shortest distance in Washington is the gap between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. Democratic members of the New York House delegation, having watched the Brooklyn congressman hog press attention for 18 years, cheered among themselves when Schumer declared he was running for the Senate. ...
[And] Like D'Amato, Schumer specializes in going where the money is – Wall Street – and relentlessly importuning financiers until they open their wallets. With D'Amato's $22 million and Schumer's $12.5 million, much of it raised from the same big brokerage firms, they are on course to make the New York Senate race the most expensive in the nation. ...
Schumer makes no apologies for going negative and for going there in a New York minute. That's what it takes, he says, when you are dealing with the likes of Senator Pothole."