BUFFALO, N.Y. — He may have grown up in Yonkers, but Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Pinion said he recognizes the importance of winning counties like Erie and Monroe in his bid to unseat Chuck Schumer.

On Thursday, he told Western New Yorkers they have a choice.

"I'm not here to have a cow on a leash and take pictures," Pinion said. "I am here concretely to make sure that the people who own the farm that the cow is on have an ability to make their way in life. Have an ability to take care of their family. Have an opportunity to make sure their children get the education they deserve."

He is running on a platform calling for more economic opportunity for all New Yorkers and more support for police, among other things. But Pinion is also running against the record of longtime incumbent who he says has allowed the far-left contingent of the Democratic Party to influence his decision making.

"Chuck Schumer is not the man that he was in 1998 when he beat Al D'Amato,” he said. “In many ways he has become the thing that he fought against. He is now an entrenched creature of D.C. He is the face of all that has gone wrong.”

Over the past 24 years, Schumer has regularly won his re-election bids by large margins. However, the incumbent is now also the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

Pinion and New York Republican Chair Nick Langworthy says that created more national interest than in the past and the GOP challenger expects to fundraise, spend and campaign more competitively than past candidates.

"Chuck is now the leader of the band in Washington D.C. and he becomes a much larger target,” Langworthy said. “I've personally spoken to U.S. Senator Rick Scott, who is the chairman of the NRSC and he's very committed to seeing us succeed here in New York.”

Pinion said in a week the campaign has already raised money from 35 different states.

"We will probably have money raised from every single state in this country by the time we get to next week, because the people of America know, just as the people of New York have felt, that the time for change is upon us," he said.

Pinion also addressed being a Black Republican candidate, calling any suggestion his candidacy is merely for optics as the "soft racism of low expectations." He believes his platform can speak to the interest of not just all races, but political ideologies as well. 

Aleksander Mici from New York City is also running to be the Republican candidate in the race.