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.
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.
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.
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.
A post shared by Carolyn Maloney (@carolynbmaloney) on May 22, 2020 at 4:36pm PDT
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 →
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.
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 →
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.
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 →