By ALEX REHBERG
Speaking Saturday in the state often described as the first political battleground for the presidential nomination, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for Hillary Clinton, former first lady, senator and secretary of state, to step into the ring for president in 2016.
Schumer’s statement — which was made at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Saturday — comes well before Clinton has confirmed whether she will even run, and precedes the January 2016 caucus and first primary votes in Iowa and New Hampshire by 26 months.
“Run, Hillary, run.” Schumer said. “If you run, you’ll win, and we’ll win.”
Schumer went on to call on Clinton to “vanquish” the Tea Party and win the presidency for the Democratic Party and middle class Americans.
Schumer has both personal and professional relationships with Clinton. He served alongside Clinton when they were New York State Senators from 2000 to 2009 and has also developed a friendship with her, according to the Washington Post. Schumer is currently the third-ranking Senate Democrat and one of the first currently-serving senators to officially and publicly announce his support for Clinton in 2016.
“I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president, and when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support,” Schumer said during a keynote address at the dinner. “With a strong platform and with Hillary leading the charge, we will vanquish the Ted Cruz, Tea Party Republicans in 2016 and create a generation of Democrats who will make sure the middle class gets what it needs.”
Clinton is not expected to reach a final decision on whether she will run for president until next year, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told The Washington Post Sunday. Although Clinton served as secretary of state, she stepped down in February of 2013 to further her work with the Clinton Foundation, a non-profit organization she started with husband and former president Bill Clinton.
“Senator Schumer is an old colleague and an even older friend, and what he said about her is very flattering,” Merrill said to The Post Sunday in response to Schumer’s endorsement. “Ultimately, though, this is a very personal decision that she hasn’t made.”
Whether or not Clinton decides to run for president, her political action committee, Ready For Hillary, is raising funds, according to its website.
Schumer also endorsed Clinton’s run for president back in 2008 when she was still New York’s junior senator.
“In 2008 the time was right for Barack Obama,” Schumer said Saturday. “2016 is Hillary’s time.”