NEW YORK — U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who twice fought to impeach former President Donald Trump, defeated U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney in Tuesday’s Democratic primary after a court forced the two veteran lawmakers into the same congressional district of New York.
Nadler’s victory ends a 30-year campaign for Congress by Maloney, who fought to get government help for people sickened by clouds of toxic soot after the 9/11 attacks.
The unusual battle between incumbents who have spent decades working together was the result of a redistricting process that brought Nadler’s base on Manhattan’s West Side together with Maloney’s on the East Side, with neither wanting to run. in another part of the city.
In his victory speech, Nadler said he and Maloney “have spent much of their adult lives working together for the betterment of both New York and our nation. I speak for everyone in this room tonight when I thank her for her decades of service to our city.”
Nadler also defeated Suraj Patel, a 38-year-old lawyer and New York University professor who has failed to make it out of the Democratic congressional primary in three straight tries.
Nadler, 75, was first elected to Congress in 1992. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he oversaw both of Trump’s impeachments. In the final weeks of the campaign, Nadler was bolstered by endorsements from The New York Times and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
He vowed to return to Congress “with a mandate to fight for the causes that so many of us know are right,” including abortion access and climate change.
Maloney, 76, also first elected in 1992, is the first woman to chair the House Oversight and Reforms Committee. She is known for her longtime advocacy for 9/11 first responders seeking compensation for illnesses they attributed to pollution from the destruction of the World Trade Center. She wore a firefighter jacket on Capitol Hill and at the 2019 Met Gala.
New York’s 12th Congressional District incumbent, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 11, 2020.
AP Photo/Patrick Semanski
Maloney said women in politics still face “misogyny” today, something she said she experienced herself on the campaign trail this year.
“I’m really saddened that we no longer have a woman representing Manhattan in Congress,” Maloney added. “It has been a great, great honor and joy and privilege to work for you.”
Few policy 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 had failed to achieve democratic goals such as the codification of Roe v. Wade and should be given over 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 complained about having to run against each other — something that only happened after a court redrew the state’s congressional district boundaries after concluding the Legislature botched the process.
“I didn’t want to run against my good friend, Jerry Nadler,” Maloney said at a recent debate. “We have been friends and allies for years. Unfortunately, we were drawn to the same neighborhood.
Still, during her campaign, 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 against 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 investigate the debunked theory that vaccines could cause autism. Maloney insisted she supported vaccines and regretted ever questioning vaccine safety.
The primary winner in the overwhelmingly Democratic district will face Republican Michael Zumbluskas in the November general election.
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