Progressive NY lawmaker to challenge Maloney in controversial House district

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) during a meeting of the House Intelligence Committee
Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File
This photo from Thursday Nov. 21, 2019, shows Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) during a meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Progressive New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D) will challenge Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) in a controversial House district.

“I am sure that he will say, ‘This is hurting the party, she doesn’t care about being a Democrat,’” Biaggi told The New York Times, calling herself a “proud Democrat.” 

“What hurt the party was having the head of the campaign arm not stay in his district, not maximize the number of seats New York can have to hold the majority,” she added.

The Hill has reached out to Biaggi’s office for confirmation.

Maloney, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said last week that he would be running in the 17th Congressional District instead of the 18th Congressional District. His decision was met with criticism from fellow Democrats, as he avoided a potentially awkward member-on-member primary between himself and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

“You should be taking a seat, not running for one,” Biaggi tweeted in response to a tweet from Maloney about which district he would run in. “After failing so spectacularly at your only job as DCCC chair—to hold and gain Dem seats—this is weak.”

The shake-up came after New York’s new congressional map pitted incumbents against one another in several races, a move that could allow Republicans to pick up House seats in November’s midterms. 

That map specifically placed Maloney’s residence in the 17th District and Jones’s home in the 16th, which is currently represented by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, another liberal, Black first-term lawmaker.  

Lawmakers such as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) have criticized the new map, saying it “robs us of power and takes a sledgehammer to Black districts.”

“The redistricting chaos in NY was unleashed by the Court of Appeals,” Jeffries also said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has offered her support of Maloney.

“We’re very proud of Sean Patrick Maloney,” she said during a press conference last week.

Biaggi is expected to formally announce her candidacy on Tuesday, according to the Times. The primary election is set to take place on Aug. 23. 

Tags Alessandra Biaggi Alessandra Biaggi congressional maps Hakeem Jeffries Jamaal Bowman Mondaire Jones Nancy Pelosi New York sean patrick maloney Sean Patrick Maloney

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