U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on Monday endorsed state Comptroller H. Carl McCall's bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. 

McCall is battling former federal housing secretary Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. George Pataki's bid for a third term in November. 

"I'm going to be there by his side as he makes his case to the people of this state," Schumer said in endorsing McCall. 

"Chuck and I share a common vision and common goals for the people of New York state," McCall said. "It is a vision to create opportunity and make government more responsive to taxpayers' needs." 

The formal Schumer endorsement was to come at a noontime news conference Monday on the steps of New York's City Hall. 

Independent polls have shown Cuomo leading McCall in the race for the Democratic nomination, but the McCall campaign has insisted they are in a competitive race with the elder son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo for the nomination. The polls show Pataki leading both the Democrats by 2-1 margins. 

McCall, who is seeking to become the first black candidate elected governor of New York, has the backing of the majority of the state's Democratic Party leadership. 

Schumer's endorsement adds to a long list of prominent New York Democrats who back the comptroller, including state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. 

New York's junior senator, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, has said she expects to remain neutral in the battle between Cuomo and McCall for the party's gubernatorial nomination.