Rep. Maloney says House seniority will pull her through

NEW YORK — With much of the focus in the state on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), it's the Democratic incumbent in the neighboring 14th congressional district who faces a tougher electoral test Tuesday.

Like Rangel, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is a longtime incumbent who has enjoyed widespread support in her district during her nine terms in Congress, and she's banking on that status pulling her through Tuesday.

"It's hard to pass legislation and achieve that fragile level of consensus," Maloney told The Hill Tuesday after casting her primary vote on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "I have that record and throughout my years in Congress, I've made a lot of friends." 

Maloney is staring down a challenge from Reshma Saujani, an attorney whose connections to the financial community and to Democratic fundraisers run deep. 

She has received campaign help from the state's former banking commissioner, Diana Taylor, who is also the girlfriend of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), and her challenge is well-funded thanks to backing from the financial industry. 

Saujani also hasn't shied away from attacking Maloney over the course of the primary, hitting her for not taking a more leading role in issues critical to New York, including financial reform.

“Congresswoman Maloney has failed New Yorkers. She has failed to lead,” Saujani said in a radio debate with Maloney last week. 

But on Tuesday, the incumbent touted her record in Washington, citing money she helped deliver for the 2nd Avenue Subway — a long-awaited transportation project — and her fight for federal dollars for first responders and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. 

The real question in her primary, said Maloney, is one her father used to ask: "If they tell you what they are going to do, ask them to show you what they have done." 

Maloney also noted that Tuesday marks "a sad election" for her personally — the first since the death of her husband Clifton last year. "Clifton always ran my elections," she said. 

But on a day when the extent of the anti-incumbent mood of voters will be tested once again across the country, Maloney didn't appear concerned about that sentiment extending to voters in her own district, which spans much of Manhattan's East Side and parts of Queens.

"She uses her seniority every day to help the people of this district," said Al Hagan, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, which has run phone banks and literature drops throughout the district on Maloney's behalf.

Should she lose to Maloney Tuesday, Saujani has pledged to run again in two years. 

—Russell Berman contributed to this post.