Maloney backs off challenge to Gillibrand

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) has decided against a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandThe Trail 2016: The newrevolution begins Democratic National Convention event calendar Texas rep uses Snapchat to prompt border control discussions MORE (D-N.Y.) after months of speculation that the New York City congresswoman would challenge the more conservative Gillibrand.

Democratic officials confirmed to The Hill that they expect Maloney to make her announcement official at a New York City press conference Friday afternoon.

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Maloney’s decision likely clears the way for Gillibrand, who was appointed to the Senate seat held by Hillary Rodham Clinton, to avoid any primary battle ahead of her first reelection attempt.

Speculation had been swirling in Washington that the White House was involved in encouraging Maloney to back down, but Democratic officials close to Maloney said the decision was more about Maloney’s personal wishes and less about party pressure.

The New York Times, first reporting that Maloney would not run, cited a source close to Maloney that claimed she was hesitant to surrender her seniority in the House.

The ninth-term Democrat is the House chairwoman of the Joint Economic Committee, the third-ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the fourth-ranking Democrat on Financial Services.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) released the following statement Friday regarding U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s announcement that she does not plan to run for U.S. Senate:
 
"We all appreciate how difficult a decision this was for Congresswoman Maloney," Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerConvention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security The Trail 2016: Unity at last MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. He said he looked forward to continuing to work with her on mutual goals.

In June, Maloney helped usher through the House a credit cardholders' bill of rights, a significant priority of hers, as well as of congressional Democrats.

Maloney was also far behind Gillibrand in fundraising, facing a three-to-one cash-on-hand deficit at the end of last month.

This article was updated at 2:20 p.m.