By Carol Tannenhauser
The most striking thing about Tuesday night’s primary debate between the Democratic congressional candidates in New York’s District 12 — veteran Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, and newcomer Suraj Patel — is how much they are in alignment on major issues. Increase the size of the Supreme Court? Yes, all agree. Should Joe Biden be the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee? Yes. Should Congress appropriate more federal money for policing and codify abortion rights? Yes, and yes. And congestion pricing for New York City? Yes, with no more delays.
Perhaps the biggest difference in the race, then, is what Patel has made an issue throughout his campaign (and in his previous efforts to unseat Maloney): generational change. Patel has hammered away at the idea that, after 30 years each in Congress, Maloney and Nadler should retire, and voters should elect him as an agent of change.
Nadler and Maloney counterargue that voters should stick with experience. In fact, if voters reject both in favor of Patel, Nadler pointed out, New York would lose two representatives with powerful committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives.
“Losing one would be unfortunate,” Nadler said. “Losing two would be catastrophic.”
Patel says he’ll bring fresh ideas to solving problems before Congress. But throughout Tuesday night’s debate, hosted by PIX11 and Hunter College, Patel talked through his time limits so frequently that viewers learned little about his platform. Maloney showed even greater disregard for warnings that her time was up; only Nadler came close to observing the time limits.
Nadler also offered a more energetic performance than he did at a similar debate last week sponsored by Spectrum News and WNYC. At one point a moderator asked him about police funding, noting that “In 2020, you told West Side Rag that you favored defunding the police.”
Wait, did he say West Side Rag?
Yes, he did, and Nadler contested the point, saying he had called for shifting “some resources from the police to mental health and social services, because the cops can’t do everything.” If you read the Rag article referred to, you’ll see that he was right.
The Democratic primary is August 23, and one sure outcome is that New York will lose at least one of its veteran representatives, because a new redistricting map threw Maloney and Nadler into competition for the congressional seat Maloney has long held. Still trying to make up your mind who to vote for? Watch the debate; it’s worth the hour. The video replay is below.
“ he had called for shifting “some resources from the police to mental health and social services, because the cops can’t do everything.” – this is just a snippet of what he said. He clearly wanted to reduce NYPD budget and introduce other measures that would make harder for the police to do their job. Now we are trying to put a different aspect on his call to limit police funding.
How did it work out so far?
Should be asked about the line in the sand on the salt tax. They are doing nothing for the residents of this high tax state
Perhaps a CPA can chime in, but as I understand it, SALT is highly over-rated as an issue. Most of the big earners who think they were losing SALT because of the legislative change weren’t getting it anyway because they were hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax, which gets rid of a lot of SALT. I think this change was largely optics for Trump to seem like he was sticking it to the blue states.
I don’t particularly like any of these candidates. I’m not sure which one I will hold my nose and vote for. Probably Nadler. I wish we could get a moderate Dem who has some experience, ideally in government or otherwise significant professional experience – Patel has done nothing with his life thus far.
To the person below who suggested voting Republican, please don’t do that. At the national level, party majorities are really important and you don’t want to mess with that. If you want to vote for a Republican for mayor or something like that, go for it.
Also, these people have almost no power over many of the quality of life issues plaguing our neighborhood. I believe the primary agent of change for this is the state legislature, so be sure to vote in those races.
I appreciate your feedback and commentary, but if your advice is meant for me, you can’t really tell people “please don’t do it”, this is overly patronizing.
I did my own research and I’m voting the way I see fit for the current situation. You vote for the candidate you find right for you.
Yes, a lot of people including myself are looking for a strong moderate Dem candidate. However, in the current climate I don’t think they can influence the far-left.
So let’s appreciate each other’s opinions and choices. We all have reasons for them.
Mine is definitely not ideologically influenced.
Based on reading the issue platforms it feels like Patel is actually more moderate on some issues, eg he doesn’t call to pack the supreme court and he seems to acknowledge that there are people in NY who work at businesses that need safe streets and low costs.
He’s no centrist (gosh I wish) but I’m swinging to Patel after contrasting his detailed platform (parts of which I disagree with!) compared with Nadler or Maloney. Nadler and Maloney look like lightweights, with few firm and realistic positions after three decades in Congress.
I thought Patel is getting a lot of funding from the real estate developer lobby.
He deleted his old defund the police tweets but people on twitter saved them. I prefer someone else who cares about residents . I prefer not to have another AOC
I’ve been wondering about that. I was leaning toward Patel after the first debate, — which was a shift for me because I’m frankly TERRIFIED of anyone who references just about any of AOC’s positions positively — but he impressed me as seeming (as 7RSD mentioned) more moderate than I had expected. However, the old tweets you mention make me wonder if I shouldn’t stick with Nadler (though, frankly, I’ve not found him nearly as impressive as he seems to think he is).
Maloney was never on my radar before, being an UWS’er, but I really don’t know what the difference would be between voting for her or Nadler.
I just really wish we could find out whether Patel has actually changed his mind about defunding the police or not.
My #1 priority in voting for any of these people is feeling safe in my city again, and I just don’t know which of them is most likely to be able to contribute to that end.
Maloney. Both of the other candidates called for defunding. Carolyn has actually worked for all New Yorkers, not just those in her district. She is the first female chair of a powerful committee and was found to be one of the most effective members of congress by an independent group that rates members on The Hill. This is not a time for unproven newbies.
Interesting…I can’t seem to find this. Where is it?
I didn’t know that. Thank you for pointing it out. That’s why commentary on WSR is so great.
Dismayed about redistricting generally.
Our family believes that Representative Nadler has worked hard, has expertise – and we will be voting for him.
While recognizing need for younger elected officials, do not have faith in Patel. Now and in the past he seems to be most aligned with the tech “lord” powers.
His campaign has also messaged some pretty nasty things about his rivals – not cool IMO
I do agree with Patel that we need fresh faces as Maloney and Nadler have been around too long and are sclerotic and arguably out of touch.
However, Patel is a wealthy man from a wealthy family with a far left progressive agenda. Politicians like him have already made NYC crime-ridden and unsafe for residents and businesses.
As much as I dislike the old guard I’ll stick with them until someone rational comes along.
I have been waiting way too long for something rational and concrete coming from our Dem reps. I’m done waiting, voting Republican this time however very reluctantly.
So you don’t believe in the protection of women, our LGBTQ neighbors, black and brown citizens, people with disabilities, or working class people? You’d really vote against all of that to stick it to a few democratic candidates you didn’t like because, what? Too many homeless people on your way to work? Scaffolding’s? What is it were angry about this week?
I believe in protection of women, LGBTQ rights, people of all races rights and working class people.
I work, I personally hired a gay dad, a religious black Muslim and a religious Ukrainian Jew, and a lesbian. All are great addition to my team and were hired for merit, not because of their race, religion or lifestyle.
Yes, I think crime is a problem and homeless need help.
I feel that Democrats are taking country in the wrong direction right now.
I am not angry, just voiced your opinion which you angrily attacked.
“I feel that Democrats are taking country in the wrong direction right now.”
I am having trouble understanding this position, though it’s voiced often. Do you mean too much stimulation of the economy? Too many attempts at protecting things through regulation? I don’t know whether “wokeness” is really prevalent among Democrats in general.
When you vote Republican for US Congress you’re voting for Kevin McCarthy, 2020 election deniers, anti-choice/freedom positions and ad nauseum future “investigations” of Biden/the FBI/the deep state, etc. In other words, crazy time.
yes the Dems didn’t “#notmypresident” in 2016, the overturn of Roe v Wade made abortion illegal in America, Trump is never investigated, and the FBI is fully biased against Dems.
Crazy town indeed.
It is crazy and radical on both sides unfortunately.
For now I am voting for someone who can reduce crime and influence the removal of soft on crime politicians and DAs. Enough of ideological play in the name of equity at the expense of law-abiding citizens. I want NYC back.
“Crazy and radical on both sides” is an intellectually lazy analysis. And from a strictly urban policy point of view, your willingness to vote Republican is also disconnected from the reality of the national Republican Party, which would be content to leave big cities like New York to rot.
I appreciate if you keep your comments civil. “Intellectually lazy” is not an appropriate way to comment.
As far as disconnection from reality, I find lots of people still voting Dem while complaining about the issues brought on by Democrat policies completely out of touch. I AM a Dem. Just can’t take the current state and policies of the party. Republicans are at least tougher on crime among other things.
Members of the US Congress do not legislate city laws and policies. The people who can “bring NYC back” are the mayor, members of the city council and perhaps state legislators as well.
I understand that. However Democrats in Congress set the tone and influence Dem city Council.
If their seniority gives them so much power, why can’t they find funding to repair the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument? None of these articles ever mention one thing their committee chairmanships have actually brought to the districts.
Sad but not surprising that they all agree on Biden 2024. Personally I’d prefer the country to not be led by an 82 year old.
Nobody thinks an 82 yr old president is a good idea but there isn’t another candidate who can beat Trump or Desantis in this environment, quite unfortunately.
I feel the same. Patel’s position also shows what a flake he is. He criticized age while he was the only one to support Biden 2024 from the start. It is no secret majority doesn’t want Biden to run and at least Nadler and Maloney were on the fence about it originally. Apparently if you want to succeed you need to listen to the political elite. That doesn’t make Patel a new blood or someone who is bringing change. As someone mentioned – another AOC plus wealthier.
Aren’t politicians grand!
Voting for Nadler. At this time when politics and the far right crazies I think having a seasoned representative who is the Chairman of a Committee is something you don’t throw away. I like and respect Elizabeth Warren who is endorsing Nadler.
Were all three of these candidates at one point for defunding the police? I find it hard to choose between them, so just trying to see if I can eliminate a couple here.
Voting records matter, even years on. And for me, the fact that Jerry voted AGAINST the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, and FOR the Iran nuclear pact, and Maloney voted FOR the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, and AGAINST the Iran nuclear pact speaks volumes. It shows Jerry’s courage and integrity.
As well, Maloney takes 3x as many corporate donations, and 2x as many PAC donations as Jerry, on a consistent basis. An d the PACs and corps that support her are more “questionable” (e.g., Big Telecomm et al) than those that support Jerry (e.g., trial lawyers). This, too, makes a difference.
As for Patel, he is a phony. His website is full of misinformation, evasion, and outright lies. And anyone who has to delete “old” positions in order to seem like he has always taken his current positions is simply dishonest. At least Jerry and Carolyn “own” their mistakes and older positions.