Maloney is ramping up the NY-12 campaign. But will it be enough?


Complicating matters for Maloney, who showed far more energy than Nadler in a recent debate on the NY1 news channel, is a spirited challenge from three-time candidate Suraj Patel — a 38-year-old attorney who takes on both seventies but aims most of it at his Fire at his longtime rival, whom he has been unsuccessfully trying to oust since 2018.

After an inconsistent process of redistributing the constituencies, Maloney found himself locked in an unequal pair fight against his Crosstown colleague Nadler, whose leading role in impeaching Donald Trump cemented his standing with voters.

Amid mounting pressure, the prospect of ending her long political career has both exhilarated and frustrated the Upper East Side congresswoman.

“He’s like a record broken,” Maloney said of Patel during a recent debate hosted by the New York Jewish Agenda, who was apparently upset by both opponents’ tag team attacks on their record, to sympathize with vaccine skeptics.

“I have a record. He’s a broken record, attacking me over and over for the same thing. How many vaccination centers have you set up, Mr. Patel?” Maloney said to him when the presenter tried to interrupt her. She was referring to her role in setting up Covid-19 vaccine centers in public housing developments in her district.

She was in her element the following day, hosting a gender equality roundtable at Manhattan’s famed Roosevelt House with active women activists supporting her candidacy, including New York National Organization of Women President Sonia Ossorio.

“I went to convention with a list of 10 things I wanted to do, including building the Second Avenue Subway. I’ve done them all but one – ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. I’d love to go back and make that happen,” Maloney said after the event.

With Nadler making his Jewish identity a central part of his campaign and Patel emphasizing his relative youth and Bootstraps upbringing, Maloney has turned to gender as she seeks support from other women concerned about curtailing abortion protections.

She announced the backing NOW NYCGloria Steinem and EMILY’s list.

But sometimes she’s admitted that maybe it’s not enough.

“For most of my career, I was the only woman in the room. And even though we’ve made so much progress, the Old Boys Club remains strong,” Maloney said in a statement.

Nonetheless, she stressed her stand on perseverance while her voting record – particularly her support for the Iraq war and her rejection of the Iran nuclear deal – is under attack from her challengers. (Nadler opposed the war and voted for the Iran deal.)

“Many legislators may choose the ‘right way,’ but when the doors are closed and the cameras are off, who is fighting like hell to protect women’s rights? Women do,” Maloney added. “We need strong, experienced women leaders in Congress now more than ever, and I am the only candidate in this race with the experience, energy and drive to take on the struggles ahead.”

Her campaign manager, Sophia Brown, echoed this sentiment when she dismissed the recommendations of Schumer and the New York Times.

The Times has “damaged its credibility with voters” by endorsing men over qualified women and people of color, Brown said, citing the broader list of candidates the paper endorses. “And with Schumer, it’s clear that the old boys’ network is sticking together and will do whatever it takes to oust a qualified woman.”

On Tuesday night, a week before the primary, Maloney, 76, spread rumors on TV that Nadler, who is a year her junior but appears less vivacious, will not complete his term if elected.

“If for any reason someone isn’t going to serve out their term – and there are tons of rumors out there – then there should be an election, not an appointment,” Maloney told NY1. “I think voters should have [a] chance [to] Make that choice, not the old boys club.”

When NY1 pressed her about these rumours, she declined to elaborate.

Speaking to voters in a park on Wednesday night, she said reporters had assured her that Nadler would indeed serve the two-year term if elected.

Low race poll numbers show Nadler in the lead, and his Upper West Side base is known for religiously high turnout.

Despite a tough NY1 debate performance in which he stumbled and sat on his opening speech while his vigorous opponents stood, Nadler has found his footing in recent weeks.

In addition to recent support from Schumer and the Times editorial board, Nadler’s supporters were out in full force Monday at the famed Zabar’s convenience store on Broadway.

“It was tough, but in my gut I chose him because he’s fought Trump his entire career and I’m for it,” said Rebecca James, 55, a Nadler supporter from the Upper West Side. “It’s superficial, but I only get one accusation from him and he’s in hysterics. … He’s a real old-school politician.”

Judy Kidney Mountain, a 77th Street resident who didn’t reveal her age other than calling herself “older,” cited Maloney’s East Side roots to explain her reasons for favoring Nadler. “He did a good job impeachment,” she added, referring to Nadler’s role as chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

The Upper East Side is home to New York’s rich and famous, a place where Mike Bloomberg resides in a five-story townhouse just blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Perfectly manicured, tree-lined streets are dotted with upscale French bistros and elegant clothing stores.

A few blocks west, residents openly profess their secular Jewish identity, strolling the streets of Birkenstocks, shopping for bagels and babka at Zabar’s with reusable shopping bags, religiously tuning in to the public radio and avidly reading the New Yorker.

Among Nadler’s supporters outside the famous grocer on Monday was an Indonesian immigrant street vendor who also ran the candidate’s booth.

Khayry Guirgis described his feelings for Nadler as he prepared to hand out campaign flyers to passers-by.

About 25 years ago, he tried to bring his two children to the United States from Indonesia while waiting for his mother’s visa. It was Nadler who rushed to his aid when other US officials ignored him, he said.

“I will support Jerry until the day I die,” he added.

“These people are voting,” Gale Brewer, City Council member and former Manhattan Borough President, said in an interview, referring to residents of the Upper West Side. She recalled a group of her constituents who once rushed to her office in a panic when they discovered her polling station was closed on Election Day, only to yell at her when she informed them there was nothing to vote for because she undisputed candidate.

“As I walk around, even on the East Side, I’m surprised at the support for Nadler,” Brewer added. She backed the 30-year-old congressman over to Maloney and Patel.

Counselor Chris Coffey, who calls Maloney a friend, had a slightly different opinion.

“I think Carolyn is driving a really enthusiastic non-stop race. She works all the time,” he said in a recent interview. “And the same goes for Suraj Patel: he seems to be everywhere. You didn’t see that enthusiasm for Jerry, but he has staunch support on the Upper West Side and he’s had some endorsements. We will see how important uninterrupted campaigning is in this race.”

“If people are hardened in their views and have voted for Jerry Nadler for 100 years, it doesn’t matter how hard he fights,” Coffey added, criticizing Nadler’s NY1 debate appearance. “But how many people are watching the NY1 debate in August?”

Nadler declined to be interviewed or to give a statement.

For his part, Patel is hoping to eat up the support at both incumbents’ home bases and surprise him with anger.

A high-energy candidate rattling off political ideas at a rapid pace, Patel has positioned himself as the fresh face for the seniority that Nadler and Maloney — both committee chairs — possess.

“We need a generational shift, an energetic shift, and I’m the only candidate in this race, this election that’s critical to the future of New York,” Patel said in an interview Monday afternoon while entertaining passers-by on the corner of 23rd Street and 8th Ave.

Patel said he’s confident his campaign is mobilizing a “new breed of electorate” made up of younger voters, working-class residents and voters of color – but he added that he’s also working with the older, better-aligned voters who this might normally do, “attack played” got flocks to Nadler or Maloney.

Elizabeth Brown, a 49-year-old Chelsea resident, said she supports Patel because “the only way forward is to change”. She described the election of the Obama campaign veteran as “the only way we get out of repeating the past.”

Patel, who nearly beat Maloney in 2020 after she put him to flight two years earlier, has changed his tune this race as he adjusts to a newly drawn district that excludes young progressives.

Where he once distinguished himself as a progressive upstart to appeal to these newly engaged voters, Patel now presents himself as a more politically moderate candidate focused on politics. He has clearly defended Israel – an unpopular position among many on the far left – and was the only one of the three candidates in a debate to staunchly back President Joe Biden for re-election.

Describing the shift in a recent podcast, he said he was simply responding to the political energy of the moment by “competing against institutional corruption and corporate PAC funds,” which he said were “actually not my core issues.” .

“The kind of vibe that we gave off – you’re trying to function as that institutional kind of progression. And you’re not,” Patel added, referring to himself.

Democratic political adviser Jon Paul Lupo, who doesn’t work for either candidate, said Patel has maximized his potential but may fall short in a district where tenure and familiarity are rewarded.

“The status quo forces in the district are much larger than the insurgents,” Lupo said. “These are areas of Manhattan where people are generally happy with their lives. These are not neighborhoods rampaging against the machine.”


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