suraj patel

North Brooklyn’s In-Progress Primary Results

Campaign posters spotted in Greenpoint this week. (Photo via Ben Weiss)

North Brooklyners braved a still-simmering pandemic and the hot humidity on Tuesday to cast their votes in New York’s 2020 democratic primary elections.

While the primary is the appetizer before the entrée of the general election, most of the winners in New York City are effectively guaranteed office as the city’s population overwhelmingly skews Democrat.

Absentee ballots are much more predominant in this election due to the pandemic and will begin to be counted on June 30th, according to The New York Times. The city distributed 78,819 absentee ballots with 11,00 ballots returned so far, Gothamist reports.

Key races remain very much up in the air, such as NY-12’s heated contest between Suraj Patel and the incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who led her challenger by less than 700 votes as of Wednesday afternoon.

The following results are preliminary and do not account for absentee ballots:


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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Touts Congressional Record in 2020 Reelection Campaign

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is running for reelection (Courtesy of Maloney for Congress.)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney stands by her record. She’s been in office for more than two decades and is staking her 2020 congressional reelection campaign on bills passed, rivals defeated and agencies regulated.

Maloney says that she is proud to represent New York’s 12th Congressional District, but three candidates are vying to replace her by criticizing the very record on which she runs. Her opponents—Lauren Ashcraft, Peter Harrison and Suraj Patel—have questioned Maloney’s lack of progressive bonafides, including her decision to take corporate money to fund her campaign.

With little less than a week before the June 23rd Democratic primary, Greenpointers spoke with Maloney about campaign finance regulation, her involvement in recent protests against police brutality in the city and the issues she thinks most affect North Brooklyners.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity. 


To voters who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?

I’m the mother of two wonderful daughters, and I’m a widow. I’ve been representing this district since 1992. I first ran and defeated a Republican, Bill Green. I helped change the whole east side of Manhattan from Republican to Democrat. 

Why are you running for reelection?

I believe that public service is the best job that anyone can have. If it is done honestly and done well, it can improve people’s lives. It’s my record that I’m running on. Recently, I was just endorsed by The New York Times and The New York Daily News. And I was rated number one in congressional leadership by GovTrack. 

Also, I have recently been elected by my peers to be chair of the Oversight Committee. With this position, I will have even a more powerful, stronger voice. 

Your three opponents have emphasized that they don’t take any corporate PAC money. Why do you take money from corporations?

I am the only one of the people running that has actually done anything to take corporate money out of campaigns. I am a sponsor of HR1. That bill, among other things, calls for public funding of campaigns. I am devoted to making that happen. 

When I was on the City Council, I authored and passed the best and toughest campaign finance law in the nation. Since then, the City Council has made that law even tougher.

I am the only candidate that Wall Street and big banks financed a candidate against in 2010, and she ran on the program that I was too tough on big banks and Wall Street. This was after I passed a landmark bill that President Obama signed into law called the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights. I won that race and I hope that my record in Congress continues to merit that support. 

The 12th Congressional District cuts across Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. What do you think is the most pressing issue here in North Brooklyn? What do you think is most important in Greenpoint? Continue reading

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Freelancers Union Hosts NY-12 Candidate Forum Monday Night

NY-12 candidates will speak with the Freelancers Union for a live interview on Monday.

The Freelancers Union will host a candidate forum between NY-12 congressional candidates on Monday night as early voting is now in session for the June 23rd democratic primary elections.

The four candidates on the ballot include the incumbent, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, second year challenger Suraj Patel, and progressive upstarts Lauren Ashcraft and Peter Harrison.

You can catch the forum live on the Freelancers Union Facebook page starting at 7 p.m. Continue reading

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Suraj Patel Attempts to Unseat Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney a Second Time

Suraj Patel and team campaigning in McCarren Park (Credit: Sachyn Mital)

Two years ago, Suraj Patel led an insurgent, but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to unseat incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as District 12’s congressional representative.

Undeterred, he’s back on the (virtual) campaign trail again, but in a vastly changed political landscape. The pandemic and recent protests have influenced his platform, and the race is heated as Maloney has taken more proactive steps to protect her more than 25-year hold on a congressional seat.

Greenpointers spoke with Patel about his involvement in protests against police brutality that have roiled the city as well as his legislative priority to demilitarize the police if elected to Congress.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity. 


To voters who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself and explain why you’re running for Congress?

I’m a first-generation American. I’m an attorney and business ethics professor at NYU, and I worked for Barack Obama. I’m running for Congress because this is a moment for change. 

We’ve got an incumbent Democrat who represents some of the worst parts of our times. Why do we have a Democrat in a district this progressive that essentially enabled so many of the things that Republicans for decades have fought for? We need generational change right now. If you look around, people are marching, and their aspirations need to be turned into laws. I think the people who turn those aspirations into laws need to be a different set of people than the ones who created the systemic oppression we see today.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The last several days have been gut wrenching for millions of Americans who know we’ve reached a breaking point. Let me state clearly, the killing of our Black boys, men, and women can not be tolerated when there are proven evidence-based policies to eliminate police brutality, end mass incarceration, and usher in an era of community healing. Last night, I joined thousands of people in a peaceful vigil and march from Carl Schurz Park through the Upper East Side of New York City and millions others around the globe. Make no mistake, Change isn’t just coming for America, Change is Here. If you’re as angry, frustrated, and heartbroken as I am, know that you have the power to make real change. I join countless Americans in outrage at the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and thousands of other Black people at the hands of police. But you can do more than be outraged. You can help remove people from office who helped build systems of oppression and whose very language around the trauma that is inflicting our nation is arcane and offensive. My opponent’s record on criminal justice reform is abhorrent, it is one of the main reasons that, as an attorney, I decided to challenge her and was the centerpiece of my campaign two years ago. Rep. Maloney came up in an era of “tough on crime” policies that carried forward the legacy of state sanctioned brutality against black people. Like many up and coming politicians of the 1990s, she signed onto the painful 1994 Crime Bill which included, among other things mandatory minimums for non-violent offenses. Many people make mistakes, some admit them, some learn from them, some remediate them. Scores of legislation to remediate that bill have come up over the last 3 decades that she’s been in office; she doesn’t add her name. Some moments we know call for a clean break from the past and they call for a new generation of leaders. We’re at a tipping point as a country and we need fighters to take on Trump, not ones who supply him with the rhetoric he is using to threaten our Cities today. 📸 Credit: Sachyn Mital Photography

A post shared by Suraj Patel (@surajpatelnyc) on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:05am PDT

You’re running to be our representative in the federal government. What would be the first piece of legislation you’d push for if elected to Congress?

We should be legislating to demilitarize police forces in our country. We see millions of people activated by it now across the country. We can’t just let these be like other times. It can’t be sets of protests that then dissipate and no action happens. The action we need is no longer hashtags or posts. The action we need is legislation to change the laws that allow police to brutally murder mostly black and brown men and women in this country with impunity.  Continue reading

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Carolyn Maloney Wins Democratic Primary Election

 

Rep. Carolyn Maloney

New York got out the vote yesterday, and here in the 12th district, which includes Greenpoint, Williamsburg, a large swath of the East Side of Manhattan, and parts of Queens, Carolyn Maloney defended her seat in the democratic primary against political newcomer Suraj Patel.

Maloney nabbed nearly 60% of the vote throughout the district, running with the endorsement of the New York Democratic Establishment, but Patel, a former Obama campaign staffer who ran to her left, picked up 66% of the vote in North Brooklyn.

Maloney has already served 13 terms in the House of Representatives. She will face Republican candidate Eliot Rabin during the Congressional election in November. You can find out more about Maloney’s platform here, and more about Rabin’s here.

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An Upstart hopes for a Shocking Electoral Upset

Suraj Patel, via surajpatel.nyc
Suraj Patel addressing voters, via surajpatel.nyc

If elections were about enthusiasm and not counting votes Suraj Patel would probably defeat twelve-term incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in the June 26th Democratic primary for the twelfth congressional district, which includes Greenpoint. Visiting Patel’s campaign headquarters in Lower Manhattan, enthusiasm pervades the room, as a horde of young energetic people scurry about and electric buzz of youth and optimism fills the air.

The candidate, a millennial, enters, exuding the same enthusiasm. The thirty-four year-old Patel did his undergraduate work at Stanford and then went on to study Law at NYU, where Patel also is a professor of Business Ethics. An attorney, he received a scholarship at Cambridge where he earned a Masters in public policy. Continue reading

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