Upper West Side 1- Upper East Side 0.
After a contentious Democratic primary campaign between two liberal giants in New York City’s redrawn 12th Congressional District, Rep. Jerry Nadler won the battle of Manhattan handily on Tuesday over longtime Rep. Carolyn Maloney and challenger Suraj Patel.
For Nadler, 75, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee who has represented the West Side for 30 years, the margin of victory — 55% to 24% — was a show of strength after he lost some of his political turf in the redistricting process.
For Maloney, 76, a longtime friend and ally of Nadler’s, the defeat brings to a crushing end to a 30-year career in Congress representing the Upper East Side.
Attorney Suraj Patel, who hoped his third run for the District 12 seat would pay off, finished behind Maloney with 19% of the vote. The loss creates uncertainty for his political future. Just after the polls closed at 9 p.m. on election night, he tweeted that he “could not be more proud, humbled and honored to work with” his family, campaign team, supporters, and volunteers.
In interviews with Upper East Siders on Tuesday afternoon after they cast ballots at a Yorkville polling place, voters were split on the three main candidates.
Amanda S., who declined to give her last name, said she voted for incumbent Maloney because “she was the only woman on the ballot.” The Yorkville resident cited Maloney’s “long-standing track record in Congress” as a reason for her vote.
Christine, who also declined to give her last name, said she voted for Maloney because “Nadler seems too old and out of it,” and “Patel is too extreme left.” Elaborating on her stance on the 38-year-old challenger, she said, “We don’t need anymore AOCs,” referring to Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the Bronx and Queens and has become known for her staunchly progressive politics.
Ella Storey credited her vote for Patel to her belief that he will “bring more youthful blood into the city, into the neighborhood.” She said she “stands for everything he fights for.”
Patel was also the choice of Amy Sullivan, 40, who said she is “looking for a change in the status quo,” and thinks Patel can bring “progress” to 12th District. As the mother of an 11-year-old son, she wants to “leave the world in a better place” for him, and believes Patel in Congress will help her do so.
A voter who gave his name as John said he cast his vote for Nadler because he views the 75-year-old as “the most experienced.” He expressed dismay that one would be losing a seat in Congress, saying that he “would like to have them both [Maloney and Nadler] stay.”
Shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Nadler declared victory at a watch party on the Upper West Side, saying, “This district does not belong to me, or to my opponents for that matter. It belongs only to the voters of this district – the New Yorkers who get up every day and busy themselves with building a better, fairer city. Those New Yorkers get to choose who best represents the people and the values of this city.”