Congressman Steve Israel was set to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate this week, challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary, until he received a phone call from President Barack Obama urging him not to do so.
“I spoke with President Obama today. He asked me that I not run for the U.S. Senate this year,” said Congressman Israel on Friday, May 15. “The president asked me to continue my leadership in Congress, working closely with him to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs through an intensified focus on renewable energy and green technology. This is a tough, heartfelt decision for me. I have received encouragement to pursue this fight from all corners of our great state. But in the interest of providing New York and our country with a united front for progressive change, I have decided to continue my efforts in Congress and not pursue a campaign for the U.S. Senate. I want to thank Senator Schumer for his friendship and guidance during this process, and I am especially grateful for the support of my friends and family. I’ll never stop fighting for Long Island and all of New York.”
Senator Gillibrand was sworn in as New York’s Junior Senator on January 27, replacing current Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton after being appointed by Governor David Paterson. Prior to her appointment to the U.S. Senate, Gillibrand served in the U.S. House of Representatives representing New York’s 20th Congressional District, which spans across ten counties in upstate New York.
Congressman Steve Israel, who represents New York’s 2nd Congressional District, serves on the House Appropriations Committee and previously served on the House Armed Services Committee and Financial Services Committee. He has served as Congressman since he was elected in 2000.