Sen. Chuck Schumer’s endorsement of Rep. Jerry Nadler over fellow House member Carolyn Maloney in Manhattan’s newly drawn 12th Congressional District is reciprocation for Nadler sticking his neck out and backing Schumer in his first Senate run more than two decades ago, The Post has learned.
“It literally goes back to 1998,” a source in the Schumer camp said of the bromance Tuesday.
Schumer, now the Senate’s majority leader, faced a tough three-way fight in that year’s Democratic primary against former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and liberal Mark Green.
Ferraro, the first woman nominated for vice president, was considered the favorite and Green — then the city’s public advocate — was a Manhattan liberal more in the mold of Nadler than Schumer.
But Nadler — who, like Maloney, served alongside Schumer in the House at the time — backed him over Ferraro and Green at a time when Schumer trailed in the polls.
Schumer went on to win the primary and defeat Republican incumbent Alfonse D’Amato in the general election.
“Schumer was not supposed to win this race,” recalled former city Comptroller Scott Stringer, a Nadler confidante. “It was a stunning upset. Jerry was there for Chuck.”
“Nadler doubled down on Schumer during his most difficult moment,” Stringer added. “The relationship goes back 30 years. There’s genuine affection but also deep mutual respect.”
Schumer announced Monday he was endorsing Nadler, whom he called “my friend,” over Maloney and progressive challenger Suraj Patel.
“Having worked alongside Jerry for years, I’ve watched as time after time, Jerry—a critical partner of mine in the House—was right on the issues years before so many others,” Schumer said in a statement. “As Judiciary [Committee] Chair, Jerry has waged the fight to protect our democracy from Trump’s abuses, worked to defend voting rights and restore abortion access, and led the efforts to get guns off of New York streets.”
The Schumer source insisted there was no animus between the majority leader and Maloney, and Stringer agreed, saying: “Chuck didn’t have to get involved in this race.”
Maloney slammed Schumer’s endorsement of Nadler as an example of the “old boys network” during a Spectrum interview Monday night.
“He doesn’t live here. It doesn’t surprise me. The old boys network is very, very close and they support each other,” she said, adding: “And we know that women are very underrepresented in Congress, we’re 51 percent of the population but 24% of electeds across the country.”
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Woman echoed that language in its endorsement of Maloney on Tuesday.
“Women make up 51% of the population but hold only 25% of elected offices. In the time of the loss of Roe, we need experienced, strong women in Congress fighting for our rights,” said NOW president Christian Nunes, referring to the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. “We cannot go backwards. NOW strongly endorsed Carolyn Maloney in NY-12, we cannot afford to lose her. Vote for her as if your rights depended on it.”
Maloney did not respond Tuesday to The Post’s request for comment.
The Democratic Party’s unforced gerrymandering debacle and the resulting court-supervised redrawing of New York’s congressional map have left it with two long-serving incumbents, Maloney and Nadler, vying for the same House seat.
The courts ruled earlier this year that state Democratic lawmakers engaged in illegal partisan gerrymandering to win more House seats and threw out their redistricted maps. Republican critics derisively called the illegal effort the “Hochulmander” because Gov. Kathy Hochul signed off on the map the courts rejected.
A court-assigned special master tasked with fixing the maps merged Nadler’s Upper West Side base with Maloney’s Upper East Side turf as part of a new 12th Congressional
Nadler, 75, immediately announced he would run in the 12th District against Maloney, 76, instead of in his redrawn 10th District, which no longer included the Upper West Side and took in neighborhoods in Brooklyn he had never represented.
Patel is the third candidate in the race, a dark horse looking to pull off an upset against the two septuagenarians who have been in Congress since the early 1990s.