Maloney: $7M would make a ‘ham-and-cheese sandwich’ competitive in my district
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) is brushing aside concerns regarding his reelection race against a Republican state representative, arguing that millions of dollars would make anyone competitive in his congressional district.
“If you put $7 million behind a ham-and-cheese sandwich … that sandwich would be competitive in this district,” Maloney told The New York Times in an interview published on Wednesday.
Maloney — the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the caucus’s campaign arm — is running for reelection in New York’s 17th Congressional District against GOP Assemblyman Mike Lawler.
The race drew national headlines this week after the nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved Maloney’s reelection bid from the “lean Democrat” category to a “toss up,” the most competitive category from the election handicapper.
The shift came after Republican groups dumped millions of dollars into the race with hopes of ousting the member of Democratic leadership.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), took out a $4 million ad buy in the race last week, adding to the $2 million the group already spent. And the National Republican Congressional Committee, the conference’s official campaign arm and the DCCC’s counterpart, increased its ad buy in the district by $867,000, bringing the group’s total spending in the race to nearly $1.8 million.
The increase in contributions led the DCCC to announce a $605,000 ad buy targeting Lawler. Maloney’s campaign, however, has raised significantly more than Lawler’s operation.
Maloney told the Times that the new contributions from GOP groups “changes the equation,” asserting, “We’re going to do what it takes to hold the seat.”
“Do I like it? … No, I do not,” he told the Times.
“But they are going to look foolish for having done it,” he added.
Maloney is still favored to win the race, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model. President Biden won the Hudson Valley-based district by 10 points in 2020.
Maloney decided to run in New York’s 17th District after the Empire State’s redistricting process earlier this year split his current seat into two separate areas. That move, however, forced Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) to run in a different district, where he ultimately lost in a primary. The decision angered some in the party.
The ninth-inning focus on Maloney’s race has brought that contentious move back into the spotlight.
Maloney told the Times that his decision was “disruptive,” but added that “it’s an honor to represent the community where I live.”
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