N.Y.C. — There’s a fight to the finish between two powerful Democratic committee leaders. Trump’s interference has caused a stir in yet another election. In the third race, a progressive challenger backed by a local hero is running against the party’s congressional campaign chair.
The careers of prominent politicians have been at stake in the New York Democratic primary campaign, which has been a chaotic season marked by clashes over ideology, generational change, and the quality of the party’s leadership.
Due to a number of intraparty fights that erupted after the courts threw out the previous congressional map and established a new one, the primary was pushed back to Tuesday, when voters will decide on candidates for the House of Representatives in and around the city.
The following are three important Democratic primaries to keep an eye on:
War of the committee chairs
Two powerful House committee chairs are facing off against each other in the 12th Congressional District race: Jerry Nadler, who represents the Upper West Side on the Judiciary Committee, and Carolyn Maloney, who represents the Upper East Side on the Oversight Committee. Their districts have been combined in the new map, making the primary election in this Democratic stronghold effectively a winner-take-all contest.
Since their election in 1992, the two septuagenarians have worked side by side in Washington, rising through the ranks from their respective neighboring districts. Nadler has been the Judiciary Committee chair for over three years, during which time he has led the charge on both of Trump’s impeachments and Democratic gun control legislation. In late 2019, Maloney became chair of the Oversight Committee. She has used this position to probe the firearms industry and the spread of false information during elections.
In recent years, their voting patterns have coincided. At a recent debate, however, Nadler went back further and pointed out that he opposed the Iraq War and the Patriot Act while Maloney supported both; he also pointed out that he supported the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal while she opposed it.
One of them can’t be a member of Congress next year.
Suraj Patel, a 38-year-old lawyer, is a wild card in the race who is campaigning on a platform of generational change, declaring in a recent debate that “it’s time to turn the page on 1992.”
In Manhattan, Trump tries to meddle.
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-CA), a progressive millennial and one of only two openly gay Black members of Congress, is running against Dan Goldman (D-NY), a wealthy attorney, in a crowded race.
By endorsing Goldman, a former federal prosecutor and counsel for House Democrats during the first impeachment inquiry into the former president, Trump has taken an unusual step to influence the primary.
Trump boasted about his acquittal and Goldman’s “wonderful future ahead” on social media, calling Goldman his “great honor to Strongly Endorse.”
For Goldman, it was “an obvious effort to manipulate the election to prevent me from standing up to him again in Congress.”
Even his Democratic opponents are now attacking him. Jones has called Goldman a “conservative” in the race for the 10th District, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. At the same time, Manhattan’s Carlina Rivera, a member of the City Council, and New York’s Yuh-Line Niou, an assemblywoman, are campaigning on progressive platforms and urging voters in the heavily blue area to reject Goldman.
Campaign chief takes on an opponent backed by the AOC
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is challenged by Alessandra Biaggi, a progressive state senator backed by a local star, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a suburban district covering parts of Westchester County and the Hudson Valley.
Maloney has a clear advantage in the newly drawn district, which is easily accessible from Manhattan via the Metro-North line and thus is a likely voting bloc for him.
Biaggi has spoken out against Maloney’s campaign leadership, taking issue with the party’s acceptance of corporate money, its support of anti-abortion Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, and its decision to prop up a far-right Michigan candidate in a GOP primary whom Democrats see as easy prey in a general election.
Maloney defended the meddling in Michigan on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, saying, “My job is to win elections for the Democrats. I take that seriously, as it is morally required that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California not be given the gavel. So, here’s the deal: we have a better shot at taking that seat.
New York’s Democratic Party has been weakened by the campaign.
After the redistricting of his district, Jones was taken aback when Maloney unexpectedly declared his candidacy in the newly formed 17th District, which includes portions of Jones’ current district. Jones instead decided to run for office in a Manhattan borough.
A number of people, including Ocasio-Cortez, had speculated that Maloney would run in a different district, and she had even proposed that he resign as campaign chair.
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