WASHINGTON – A Manhattan attorney who unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012 said Thursday she will run on the Republican statewide ballot once again, this time against Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Wendy Long announced her 2016 candidacy in a video emailed to the New York State Republican Party’s subscriber list and on Twitter (@WendyLong2016).
Long, 55, is assured of receiving the GOP’s official endorsement at the party’s state convention Friday in Buffalo.
And the New York Conservative Party is ready to cross-endorse Long, according to Chairman Michael Long (no relation). Conservatives hold their state convention Saturday in Brooklyn.
The New York State Democratic Committee nominated Schumer for re-election Monday at a meeting in Tarrytown.
Schumer ended 2015 with $24.2 million in campaign cash, much more than he presumably needs for re-election. In his last campaign in 2010, Schumer transferred large sums to state and national party committees for use in more competitive races elsewhere.
In 2012, Long won a three-way Republican Senate primary against Rep. Bob Turner of Queens and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos. She lost to Gillibrand in the general election by 46 points.
This year, GOP officials haven’t found a well-known elected official or business executive willing to take on Schumer.
Long plans on running a low-budget campaign that will use social media and contact with traditional media as a substitute for expensive campaign advertising.
“I’m going to wear out a lot of shoe leather traveling around the state,’’ she said in an interview.
Long said she learned from her 2012 race against Gillibrand that Republican donors are reluctant to invest in a Senate race in a solidly Democratic state such as New York.
“The biggest thing I learned was the power of incumbency and the power of money,’’ she said. “I guess I was a little idealistic and thought if you are honest and you’re well-qualified and capable of waging a good fight, you can raise money. And what I learned is that our campaign finance laws are really a great big incumbent protection act.’’
Long received only 26 percent of the vote against Gillibrand. Her campaign spent only $114,560 but ended up $292,816 in debt.
Long said she erred in hiring high-priced consultants, which she vowed not to do this year. She plans on running her campaign — at least initially — with only a campaign manager and one consultant, Jay Townsend, who lost to Schumer in 2010.
She will be her own press secretary.
“The power of incumbency and the power of money is just overwhelming,” Long said. “Which is the reason why so few people do this and the reason why even some people who are somewhat household names and have a lot more money than I do declined to run in this race.’’
Long questions Schumer’s claim to be a champion of the middle class. He’s never held a private-sector job and has witnessed “the utter decimation of the middle class’’ while serving as a Washington lawmaker since 1981, she said.
Schumer spent $19.5 million in his last campaign, winning 66 percent of the vote against Republican consultant Jay Townsend, who spent only $218,557 and received 32 percent.
Campaign spending on this year’s race also is likely to be lopsided. The GOP’s 54-46 Senate majority is at stake. Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mark Kirk of Illinois are in toss-up races. In addition, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential bid offers Democrats a chance to pick up his Senate seat in November.
Long, a married, stay-at-home mom with two teenagers, is a former litigation partner with Kirkland & Ellis in Manhattan.