Two Longtime House Democrats Locked in Heated Clash After Redistricting Efforts Backfire


Two of New York’s longest-serving members of Congress have turned from allies to rivals after a court redrew the state’s congressional maps, scrambling the favorable landscape Democrats hoped to set for themselves this election year.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a major figure in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a champion of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, are now running against each other in a Democratic primary to represent a reconfigured district in Manhattan.

The intra-party battle is not the result Democrats envisioned for the once-a-decade redistricting in a state where they control the governor’s mansion and the Legislature.

Nadler, 74, and Maloney, 76, were first elected to Congress 30 years ago and have risen to chair the powerful House Judiciary and Oversight committees, respectively.

Nadler has long represented the Upper West Side and areas stretching down to Wall Street and parts of Brooklyn, while Maloney’s longtime turf was on the other side of Central Park: the Upper East Side, along with parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

Man Who Shot Reagan Speaks Out After Assassination Attempt Against Trump: 'Not the Way to Go'

But when a state court unveiled the new maps on May 16, merging the Upper East Side and Upper West Side into one congressional district — the 12th — the veteran lawmakers huddled on the House floor. Each tried to persuade the other to run somewhere else.

“I said that I thought that if we ran against each other in the 12th, I’d probably win, so she should run in the 10th. Why didn’t she run in the 10th? She would clear the field and no one else would run, in all likelihood,” Nadler recounted.

“She said, ‘No, no, no.’ She thought she’d win, and why didn’t I run in the 10th? And I said no, I didn’t want to do that. And it was an impasse and we left it at that. … We’ve known each other for a long, long time and since that, we really haven’t talked,” Nadler said.

Maloney, whose campaign did not respond to multiple interview requests from The Associated Press, recounted their conversation similarly in an interview with the New York Post.

Will Republicans take control of the House in November?

“My whole life people have told me I shouldn’t be where I am so I am not surprised he told me to step aside,” she said. “The time for women stepping aside is over.”

Democrat Suraj Patel, a 38-year-old who has unsuccessfully challenged Maloney in the past, is also running and declared in a statement: “There are no incumbents in this race, just two career politicians — but no one is entitled to any congressional seat.”

For Democrats, New York was supposed to be one of the party’s few opportunities to draw new district lines in their favor and possibly limit losses in November’s elections.

But then the wheels came off.

After a successful legal challenge from Republicans produced new court-drawn congressional maps, Democrats were left with tougher battles against Republicans and among themselves.

Hundreds of Thousands in Campaign Cash Being Funneled to Democrats from Chinese-Owned Company

Now that Nadler and Maloney are facing each other in the 12th District, along with Patel, there’s an open seat just to the south that wraps in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

That’s drawn a crowded field of at least 10 Democrats, including former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones, who decided to leapfrog from his Hudson Valley district after the new maps put him on a collision path with another Democrat, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

The lines of Sean Patrick Maloney’s district, the 18th, were also changed under the court’s rewrite, cutting his home in Cold Spring into the reconfigured 17th District. He quickly declared he would run in the 17th, a move that angered some other New York Democrats who saw it as unfair to Jones, who represents that district now.

It even drew him a primary challenge from progressive state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who announced she would take him on in the 17th, even though she does not live there.

Biaggi won the backing on Tuesday of progressive star U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had been among those critical of Sean Patrick Maloney.

Maloney defended his decision, noting that no other incumbent Democrat lived in the 17th District — because Jones’ home was swept into the new 16th District, much of which is held by another Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

“From my point of view, I’m just running where I landed,” Maloney said at a news conference last month.

Jones told the AP he considered running in the 17th, “but at the end of the day, it was important to me, as someone in the leader of the fight to defend our democracy against the threats of the far-right, not to be in a primary with either of my two colleagues in the Hudson Valley, and to focus on making my case in a district I feel a deep connection to.”

His case is that a gay man should represent the new 10th District, which includes the West Village and the Stonewall Inn, an underground gay bar where a police raid in 1969 sparked a backlash that drove the LGBT movement.

“It was through my visits to the West Village that I summoned the courage to come out as an openly gay man,” Jones said. “It’s wild that the place where Stonewell happened, a movement for LGBTQ liberation, birthed by queer people of color, has never had a gay representative in congress.”

The new maps didn’t just upend political careers and collegial relationships for New York Democrats. They also upset national plans for the party to expand its chances of keeping power in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Before they were struck down by a state court, congressional district maps initially drawn by the state Legislature would have given Democrats a strong majority in 22 of 26 congressional districts.

“Democrats decided to roll the dice and it didn’t come up their way,” said Brennan Center for Justice redistricting expert Michael Li, who called the Legislature’s maps “one of the more aggressive gerrymanders” among the states this year.

Democrats currently hold 19 of New York’s 27 districts, but the state is losing one as a result of the 2020 census.

The new maps, drawn by a court-appointed expert, give Democrats an edge in 21 of 26 districts, but some of those will be much more competitive and could be won by Republicans.

Ultimately, they are fairer, Li said.

“If they’re unhappy with the maps,” he said of Democrats, “one of the places that they need look if they need to cast blame is with themselves.”

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City