WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed concern Thursday about Sen. Raphael Warnock's re-election race against Republican Herschel Walker during a conversation with President Joe Biden.
The private discussion was picked up on a microphone and camera while they stood on an airport tarmac in Syracuse, N.Y., with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
"The state where we’re going downhill is Georgia," Schumer appeared to tell Biden. "It’s hard to believe that they will go for Herschel Walker."
"But our vote — our early turnout in Georgia is huge. Huge!" Schumer added.
Biden noted, "Barack's heading down there tomorrow," to rally for Warnock and Democrat Stacey Abrams, who's trying to unseat GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
Warnock, who was elected in a 2020 special election, has recently been polling neck and neck with Walker, who has faced accusations that he paid for a woman's abortion and drove another to a clinic for the procedure. Walker, who is running on an anti-abortion Republican platform, has denied the allegations.
Campaigning Friday in Statesboro in eastern Georgia, Walker seized on what he called Schumer's "open mic" moment.
"Y'all saw Chuck Schumer. Y'all saw the president, Joe Biden, talking about him behind his back," Walker said, suggesting that the Senate leader was implying that Warnock "was going to lose now."
Asked about Schumer’s remarks to Biden, Justin Goodman, a spokesman for the majority leader, told NBC News, “Schumer believes the Democratic candidates will win.”
During the conversation, Schumer brought up the Pennsylvania Senate race and the debate Tuesday between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and his Republican challenger Mehmet Oz. Some Democrats expressed concern after the debate about Fetterman's performance as he recovers from a stroke he had in May.
"Looks like the debate didn’t hurt us too much in Pennsylvania," Schumer appeared to tell Biden.
The Democratic leader could also be heard mentioning the Senate race in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is running for re-election against Republican Adam Laxalt. "We’re picking up steam in Nevada," Schumer said to Biden.
Democrats are trying to retain control of the Senate, which is split 50-50, and controlled by Democrats due the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.