The winner of the Republican contest will have a tough general election against Schumer, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The 11-year Senate veteran garnered nearly 71 percent of the vote in his 2004 election and is among the most prolific fundraisers of election 2010. He has $17.9 million in receipts this election cycle, the third-most of any current Senate candidate, and an astounding $23.2 million in the bank, more than any other candidate. Furthermore, without Democratic challengers to battle, Schumer can put the full weight of his millions into fighting off a Republican challenge.
New Yorkers will also decide on Tuesday the candidates for their other Senate race, a special election for the seat held by Gillibrand. Appointed in 2009 to take the place of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, who resigned to become secretary of state, Gillibrand also has the advantages of incumbency and cash. Her receipts this cycle total $11.3 million, making her the eighth-most-successful fundraiser among current Senate candidates. Unlike Schumer, Gillibrand has a primary to win if she wants to defend her seat in November, and has spent much of the funding she has amassed. As of August 25, she had $4.5 million remaining in her warchest. She will face a challenge from the left in Gail Goode, a deputy borough chief in the New York City Tort Unit. While Gillibrand touts her involvement in passing healthcare reform and the stimulus bill, Goode is emphasizing that she is "not a political insider," which has become a common campaign tactic in this year's anti-incumbent atmosphere.
The Democratic nominee will face one of three candidates duking it out in the Republican primary: former Rep. Joe DioGuardi, attorney Bruce Blakeman, or economist David Malpass. All three have significant political experience. Dioguardi served in the House of Representatives from 1985 through 1989, Blakeman has served as both a county legislator and former New York Port Authority commissioner, and Malpass was deputy assistant secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush. Among the three, Malpass has the clear fundraising advantage, with nearly $2 million in the bank of the $2.9 million he has raised. This is more than twice DioGuardi's total receipts figure and four times that of Blakeman. The winner will likely need substantial ammunition running a general election campaign in a state that has been strongly Democratic in recent years. New York elected Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2006 with 67 percent of the vote, as well as President Obama with 62 percent in 2008.