DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is urging his former Senate colleague, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to run for president. In fact, he's already endorsing her.
Schumer, the third-ranking Democratic member of the Senate, endorsed the former secretary of state during the party's annual Jefferson Jackson dinner, joining a chorus of Democrats calling on Clinton to run again. In remarks to the crowd of 750 Democratic supporters, he said that with Clinton, the party can "vanquish the Ted Cruz, tea party Republicans in 2016."
"It's time for a woman to be president," Schumer said as people rose to their feet with enthusiastic applause. "And so tonight here in Iowa, and I won't get this opportunity again, I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president and, when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support. You know her well: as first lady, senator, secretary and as a wife and mother. Hillary's experience is unrivaled and her vision is unparalleled."
Clinton aides did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the remarks.
Polls show that Clinton would be the leading contender for the Democratic nomination if she were to run. She told New York magazine in an article published in September that she was wrestling with whether to run again and offered no timeline for an announcement.
"I'm not in any hurry. I think it's a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it's also not one that has to be made soon," Clinton told the magazine.
Clinton has been careful to remain close to key Democratic voters, speaking before students, black women and the gay and lesbian community in recent months. While she has given speeches around the country, she has not visited the early voting state of Iowa.
Many top Democrats have been urging Clinton to run. The Ready for Hillary super PAC, launched by her supporters, has received endorsements from Democrats such as Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Other potential Democratic candidates seeking the 2016 nomination include Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Iowa state Sen. Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robins, said she was excited by Schumer's announcement.
"It paves a way into her election," said Mathis, who was a caucus leader for Clinton in 2008. "Primarily women in the party have come out in support of her, so it's very good to see male leaders in the party, too. It's important that everyone in the Democratic Party come out."
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.