Two leading House Democrats reluctantly battle it out in New York primary
NEW YORK (AP) — He helped lead the fight to impeach Donald Trump. She fought for people sickened by the clouds of toxic soot after the 9/11 attacks.
At least one of New York’s most veteran members of Congress will be removed from office on Tuesday in a Democratic primary pitting U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler against U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney in a race the two had hoped to avoid.
The unusual battle between the incumbents who are usually allies is the result of a redistricting process that consolidated Nadler’s home base on the west side of Manhattan with Maloney’s on the east side. Both lawmakers live in New York’s newly configured 12th congressional district.
Neither was willing to show up in another part of town.
Nadler and Maloney are joined in the race by Suraj Patel, 38, a lawyer and lecturer at New York University who also challenged Maloney in the Democratic primaries in 2018 and 2020. A fourth candidate, Ashmi Sheth, a former of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York employee, is on the ballot but has not met the fundraising criteria to qualify for the debates.
Nadler, 75, was first elected to Congress in 1992. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he led the two impeachments of former Republican President Donald Trump. He was buoyed in the final weeks of the campaign by endorsements from The New York Times and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Maloney, 76, was also first elected in 1992. She is the first woman to chair the House Oversight and Reform Committee. She is known for her longstanding advocacy with 9/11 first responders seeking compensation for illnesses they attribute to contamination resulting from the destruction of the World Trade Center. She wore a firefighter jacket to Capitol Hill and the 2019 Met Gala.
Few political differences between Nadler, Maloney and Patel emerged during the primary campaign.
All support abortion rights, the Green New Deal and tighter restrictions on gun ownership. Patel argued that the generation of Nadler and Maloney failed to achieve Democratic goals such as codifying Roe v. Wade and should give in to new blood.
Nadler and Maloney countered that their seniority in Congress brings influence that benefits New Yorkers.
Friends for many years, the two Democrats lamented having to run against each other – something that only happened after a court redrew the boundaries of the congressional districts of the United States. state after concluding that the legislature botched the process.
« I didn’t want to race my good friend, Jerry Nadler, » Maloney said during a recent debate. “We have been friends and allies for years. Unfortunately, we were dragged into the same neighborhood.
Yet during the campaign trail, Maloney said that as a woman she would fight harder to protect abortion rights than Nadler.
Asked during a debate how his record differed from Maloney’s, Nadler cited his votes against the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, and in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. Maloney, also elected to Congress in 1992, voted the other way on all three.
Maloney has also come under fire from opponents for her past positions on vaccines, including in 2006 when she introduced legislation ordering the federal government to study the debunked theory that vaccines can cause autism. Maloney insisted she supported vaccines and regretted ever questioning vaccine safety.
The primary winner from the majority Democratic district will face Republican Michael Zumbluskas in November’s general election.
Karen Matthews, Associated Press