By Bob Tannenhauser
The polls closed at 9:00 pm and by 9:30, CNN projected that Jerry Nadler had defeated his colleague of thirty years, Carolyn Maloney, in the hotly contested Democratic primary for the newly drawn 12th District Congressional seat. Suraj Patel came in a distant third. Nadler will face Mike Zumbluskas, the Republican candidate, in the November general election.
In the Democratic primary for the new 47th NY State Senate district, incumbent State Senator Brad Hoylman triumphed over challenger Maria Danzilo by a substantial margin. Hoylman will also be on the ballot in November as the Working Families Party candidate.
In his acceptance speech, Jerry Nadler said some people asked why he wanted to run for this particular redrawn district seat. “This place is my home,” he said. “Why would I want to be anyplace else?”
Nadler said he had spoken with Patel and Maloney, “both of whom have graciously conceded.” He called Patel “exceptionally bright” and said of Maloney, “I thank her for her decades of service to this city.”
Nadler read his remarks, sometimes a bit haltingly, and, except for his wife, was surrounded, perhaps deliberately, by markedly young supporters. He ticked off issues he prioritizes, including: “a stacked Supreme Court [that] has bulldozed our rights” and “the scourge of gun violence in America.”
NY1 showed a bit of Patel’s speech to his supporters, though they cut away mid-sentence. He called New York “the most inspiring city in the world, except for its politics,” and said his “call for generational change isn’t about age. It isn’t just a slogan. It’s a fact of life.” He added that new leaders are needed for today’s new challenges.
At around 11 pm, Carolyn Maloney spoke. She called Nadler “a distinguished member of Congress” whose “progressive values” she shares. “I wish him every success.” Of Patel, she said she hopes his campaign “will inspire other young people” to get involved.
Then, as she did repeatedly during her campaign, she ticked off some of her accomplishments: a credit card bill of rights, funding for the Second Avenue subway, getting the ERA on the agenda.
Maloney quoted former U.S. Reps Shirley Chisholm (“We must continue to be unbought and unbossed”) and Bella Abzug (“A woman’s place is in the House, the House of Representatives”).
“I’m really sad that we no longer have a woman representing Manhattan in the Congress,” she said, but women must continue to fight, and must “work for a big Democratic win in November,” or else we will be “watching [the country] be set on a forced march back to a darker time.”
“It has been the joy of my life, the privilege of my life, to work for you,” she concluded.
Underscoring how extraordinary this race was, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi released a statement praising both Maloney and Nadler.
“During her three decades in the House, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney has been a deeply respected leader in our Caucus and a champion for integrity,” Pelosi wrote. “House Democrats are grateful for Chairwoman Maloney’s tenacious leadership. Her longtime public service will be profoundly missed in the Congress and by her constituents and the country.”
Pelosi called Maloney “a prolific and effective legislator. Americans will continue to benefit from laws she authored to protect credit card users. New York families salute her fight to secure full health benefits for the heroic first responders on September 11th.”
The Speaker closed by offering “Congratulations to Chairman Jerry Nadler on prevailing in the election. For three decades in the House, Chairman Nadler has been a commanding force for freedom and justice: whether protecting our children from gun violence, fighting for civil rights for all or defending our Democracy.”