Hugh Carey's Departure from Congress and Chuck Schumer's Rise in D.C.

Governor Hugh Carey pictured with one of the new Hino buses in New York City, kicking the bus for emphasis. A number of buses were bought in 1981 to ease the strain on New York City's public transit. (via NYS archives. photographer not identified)

Before saving New York State, Hugh Carey served 14 years in congress representing part of Brooklyn.

The Democrat and Chronicle yesterday wrote that “Senator Charles E. Schumer was elected to Carey’s Congressional seat after Carey.”

Not exactly.

Carey gave up his seat in 1974, when he got elected governor. The person who replaced him was a man named Leo Zeferetti, a conservative Democrat from the Bay Ridge / Bensonhurst area. Schumer, in 1974, was elected to the State Assembly.

In 1980, Congresswoman Liz Holtzman left her seat to run for Senate. Schumer took that seat. Then came the 1982 redistricting. Zeferetti’s district was destroyed and he was, basically, thrown into a district with Republican Guy Molinari. Molinari’s district was originally all of Staten Island and a small part of Manhattan. It now included some Italian neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn.

Zeferetti, who is also Italian, took his chances against a more established congressional veteran — Molinari — and not against the less experienced, younger, Schumer.

Zeferetti got beat by Molinari and Schumer went on to lay the groundwork for his takeover of Washington.

Democratic consultant and all-round political encyclopedia Jerry Skurnik — who helped reconstruct this history for me — explained rather bluntly why Zeferretti took his chances running against Molinari, rather than Schumer.

This district, as we now know, is heavily Jewish. Schumer would have killed him in a primary,” said Skurnik.

[h/t Gatemouth] Hugh Carey's Departure from Congress and Chuck Schumer's Rise in D.C.