Catsimatidis to Host Soirée for Schumer Amid Majority Leader Talk

Senators Charles Schumer and Harry Reid in 2006, when the Democrats captured the majority in the Senate. (Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke/Getty Images)

Senators Charles Schumer and Harry Reid in 2006, when the Democrats captured the majority in the Senate. (Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke/Getty Images)

John Catsimatidis, the grocery store tycoon who made a bid to be the Republican candidate for mayor in 2013, invited supporters to a fund-raiser for Democratic Senator Charles Schumer at his swank Manhattan apartment next month—and touted Mr. Schumer’s increasingly likely ascension to the position of Senate majority leader.

The email invite, sent on Friday, alluded to retiring Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada’s endorsement of the New York senator—currently the third-ranking Democrat in the body—to be his successor.

“This is historic,” the message from Mr. Catsimatidis begins. “This is great news for New York and the country.”

The email describes the April 7 gathering as a “small reception,” and warns room is likely to run out quickly. It requested donations in the amounts of $1,000, $2,700 and $5,400—the maximum allowed from an individual under federal law—and asks checks be made out to Friends of Schumer.

Mr. Catsimatidis, whose Red Apple Group controls the supermarket chain Gristedes as well as extensive oil and gas holdings, is a former registered Democrat with close ties to the Clinton family. Despite his unsuccessful 2013 run in the Republican mayoral primary, he has continued to give heavily to Democratic candidates such as Public Advocate Letitia James, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and failed 2014 Congressional candidate Domenic Recchia.

More recently, however, he has indicated an interest in fund-raising for Republican Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who is seeking the same seat Mr. Recchia did last fall.

For Mr. Schumer to reach the top slot in the Senate, the Democrats must recapture the majority in the body in 2016, which many analysts consider likely. His colleagues would then have to vote for him as their leader.