Schumer: Fight for Senate is 'neck and neck'

Schumer: Fight for Senate is 'neck and neck'
© Anna Moneymaker

Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) said Friday that the battle for the Senate is "neck and neck," adding recent comments on ObamaCare from Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship As Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural MORE (R-Ky.) have been a "gift" to Democrats. 

"This election is neck and neck. And as I said, McConnell gave us a gift. That's a game changer when he shows who he is and wants to really hurt people on health care," Schumer said during an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

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Democrats have pounced on remarks this week from McConnell on health-care and entitlement reform. 

McConnell defended the Trump administration’s decision to join a lawsuit that seeks to overturn ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In a separate interview, he said Republicans could try again to repeal ObamaCare next year if they keep control of Congress. 

Schumer said McConnell "showed who the Republican Party really is." 

"That's a game changer, what McConnell did the last three days is a game changer for us," he said. 

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats need to pick up two seats if they want to gain control of the chamber. But they face a challenging map, defending several seats in red and purple states won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE in 2016. 

"In the House, it's not neck and neck, but we had a tough map,” Schumer said. “You know, a year ago, if I came on the show and would have said it's neck and neck, you would have said forget about it," he added. 

Schumer argued that the reason Democrats are able to keep races close in states that Trump won by double digits is because of concern from voters and Republican messaging on health care. 

"We're closing on that issue and it’s going to help us just have victory in state after state after state including places that people didn't expect," he said. 

But the New York Democrat declined to say what combination of states could help them win a majority, saying while he wouldn't "get into specific states" that "across the board, we're doing better in places that we never thought we could."

In addition to holding onto 10 vulnerable seats currently held by Democratic incumbents, Democrats would need to flip seats that are currently held by Republicans.

Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerCortez Masto named Dem Senate campaign chairwoman Nevada New Members 2019 Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February MORE (R-Nev.) is the only Republican running in a state won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Pipeline paralysis: The left’s latest fossil fuel obstruction tactic Mueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation MORE. Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover Veteran political reporter says New Hampshire voters have 'hunger' to moderate political turbulence MORE (R-Ariz.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: 'Everything points' to Saudi crown prince ordering Khashoggi's killing CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi murder: report  McConnell, Flake clash over protecting Mueller probe MORE (R-Tenn.) are retiring at the end of the year, creating more competitive races for their seats in Arizona and Tennessee, respectively.