Sexual harassment victim advocate in NY to launch primary challenge against longtime House Democrat

Sexual harassment victim advocate in NY to launch primary challenge against longtime House Democrat
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Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyNew York Democratic congresswoman hospitalized Cast and crew of 'Unbelievable' join lawmakers to advocate for reducing DNA, rape kit backlog O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.) may face a primary challenge from a first-time candidate who played a key role in organizing Albany's first sexual harassment hearing in nearly three decades.

Erica Vladimer said in an interview with HuffPost published Monday that she plans to run against Maloney for New York's 12th District.

Maloney, 73, was first elected to Congress in 1992.


Vladimer, 32, is a former New York State Senate staffer who in 2018 accused her boss, Sen. Jeff Klein (D), of forcibly kissing her in 2015. Klein, who denied Vladimer's allegation, lost the primary to state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D) last year.

Vladimer formed Harassment Free Albany with six other former staffers who allege they experienced or witnessed sexual harassment at the state legislature. The group helped bring about the first joint legislative sexual harassment hearing at the state's Senate in more than 27 years.

“I feel like I’ve climbed a mountain and really have reclaimed my voice and my path that one man in a powerful institution made me feel like I didn’t belong on and knocked me off for a few years,” Vladimer told HuffPost. “And it’s really been such an interesting self-reflective time. But I’m feeling ready. I’m feeling really ready.”

In addition to workplace protections, Vladimer told HuffPost she wants to ensure services to disabled students, expand paid parental leave, protect Roe v. Wade and address public health concerns such as Brooklyn's measles outbreak.

In response to news of Vladimer's candidacy, a campaign spokesperson for Maloney told The Hill: "Competition is good and a strong sign of the activism and energy in the Democratic Party right now."

The announced primary challenge comes almost a year after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezFive takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Sanders for president MORE (D-N.Y.) upset now-former Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary contest.

Maloney also faces a primary challenge from first-time candidate Lauren Ashcraft, a 30-year-old project manager at JPMorgan Chase and stand-up comedian who has pledged not to take PAC money.

Updated at 1:12 p.m. on Tuesday.