In an unexpected but influential move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday he is endorsing Rep. Jerry Nadler for Congress over their colleague Carolyn Maloney.

New York’s senior Senator picking of a side in the incumbent-on-incumbent primary could well clear Nadler’s path to victory. The thirty year congressional veteran also earned the endorsement of the New York Times over the weekend.

Nadler told NY1 that he had solicited and hoped for Schumer’s support but said it was voters who will ultimately choose who represents the 12th Congressional District after the Aug. 23 primary.

“I’ve known Chuck for a long time,” Nadler said as he campaigned on the Upper West Side. “But it’s very gratifying obviously.”

Schumer has opted to weigh in when others in New York’s congressional delegation are staying out, including his junior counterpart Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Two major labor unions and members of the U.S. House leadership have also been neutral in the competitive clash of the titans.

Nadler noted his longtime friendship with Schumer.

“We served together in the Assembly and the House,” he said. The pair overlapped for three years in Albany and seven years in Congress.

Now, Schumer is the highest-ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill and Nadler is dean of the New York delegation.

In a statement Monday, Schumer said, “New York has a lot of outstanding leaders, but few of them lead with the courage, conviction and brilliant legislative effectiveness of my friend, Jerry Nadler. I’ve watched as time after time, Jerry — a critical partner of mine in the House — was right on the issues years before so many others.”

Nadler called the statement an obvious reference to his voting record and where it contrasts with Maloney’s.

“I think I’ve been proven right on a number of issues,” Nadler told NY1. “I voted for the Iran deal. I think I’ve been proven right on that. I voted against the Iraq War. I think I’ve been proven right on that.”

Maloney voted against the Iran nuclear deal and for the Iraq War.

Maloney tried to project confidence Monday as she campaigned on Manhattan’s West Side.

She noted to NY1 that Schumer doesn’t live in the boundaries of the 12th District, which spans the Upper West and Upper East Sides.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Maloney said of the endorsement. “The old boys’ network is very, very close and they support each other and we know that women are very underrepresented in Congress.”

The primary also includes a dark horse in challenger Suraj Patel, who twice ran against Maloney and came within four points in 2020.

He cast his ballot Monday in the East Village during the early voting period.

The attorney maintains the time has come for both Maloney and Nadler to be ousted.

“We need people in Congress that reflect the diversity, breadth and dynamism of this country and this party. And that’s why I’m running,” he said.

Schumer reached out to Maloney before he announced his endorsement of Nadler, according to Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro.

The majority leader has a “deep respect for Carolyn Maloney’s significant accomplishments in Congress,” Roefaro told NY1.