To paraphrase SNL’s Stefon, this election cycle has everything — last-minute redistricting, petition challenges brought to the Board of Elections, petty squabbles, three very different candidates all running under the “progressive” banner.
Last week’s decision from New York’s Court of Appeals threw a wrench in State Senate candidates’ plans to campaign in Greenpoint. The decision deemed the latest legislative maps “unconstitutional” and will require them to be reexamined by a nonpartisan expert. This decision could force candidates fresh off a petitioning process to completely start over, if the current maps are not upheld.
But State Senate candidates weren’t the only ones with petitioning woes. Congressional candidate Rana Abdelhamid and her campaign challenged signatures collected by perennial contender Suraj Patel. “Patel submitted a petition with 3,217 signatures, well over the 1,250 signatures required in order to get on the ballot for a Congressional seat,” LIC Post reports. “However, Abdelhamid argued that 2,091 were invalid — leaving him 124 signatures short of the requirement.” The Board of Elections ultimately ruled in Patel’s favor. The New York Supreme Court also rejected Abdelhamid’s lawsuit, though on the basis that the call for new legislative maps render her challenge immaterial.
In a recent press release, Patel’s campaign manager Emmett Werbel referred to Abdelhamid’s challenge as “Trumpian.”
“The efforts we saw this week by Rana Abdelhamid’s campaign were nothing more than a desperate, undemocratic attempt to disenfranchise 37,000+ voters who supported Suraj Patel in 2020, and the thousands who signed petitions for him just weeks ago” said Werbel.
Werbel’s statement that: “If you want to beat Carolyn Maloney, the only one in the race who can do that is Suraj” might read a little brash, considering that Patel has already mounted two unsuccessful challenges to unseat Congresswoman Maloney.
A few Internet critics addressed the fact that Patel seemed to use similar tactics against fellow candidate Sander Hicks in 2018, which ultimately led Hicks to withdraw from the primary and run an independent campaign.
Now four candidates remain in the race — Rana Abdelhamid, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Maud Maron, and Suraj Patel.
A month ago, activist Maya Contreras quietly withdrew her name from consideration, but not without a few choice words for her fellow candidates. Here are some excerpts, some of which, not gonna lie, gave me a good chuckle:
“Rep. Maloney’s formidable personal wealth makes it that much easier to keep herself in power, and Rep. Maloney is powerful. I believe she works very hard behind the scenes to keep herself in power. I would like to see her use that power more often to aid the most vulnerable.”
“Regarding the other challengers, I don’t know why Suraj is running. I say this even after meeting with him. He was respectful to me, and I mean no disrespect in these assessments, but Suraj, to me, is a cookie-cutter politician willing to change his narrative and policies any which way that would lead him to being elected”
“I also met with Rana. She truly could not explain to me why she was running for office in the 12th district outside of very scripted talking points.”
“Regarding Maud Maron. I don’t regard Maud Maron.”
Of course, I encourage you to read the entire statement to get the full scope of what Contreras had to say.
Based on the decision from the Court of Appeals, the primary elections for both congressional and State Senate elections are likely to move to August.