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Nadler defeats Maloney in New York City primary

Manhattan politicians were redistricted into the same seat

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., lost her bid for reelection.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., lost her bid for reelection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, will be leaving Congress after losing a bruising Democratic primary to Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

The race came about after a court-appointed special master created a redistricting map that put Nadler’s base on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Maloney’s base on the Upper East Side in the same congressional district for the first time in generations.

Nadler had 57 percent of the vote to Maloney’s 24 percent when The Associated Press called the race at 9:38 p.m. Suraj Patel, who challenged Maloney in the 2020 primary, had 19 percent.

Nadler and Maloney were both first elected to Congress in 1992, the year that President Bill Clinton was elected, and they have served alongside ever since.

Maloney and her team were still campaigning aggressively on Monday, but she also held an event outside an entrance to the Second Avenue subway line on the Upper East Side, for which the long-delayed completion was a career highlight.

“I had a list of 10 things I wanted to accomplish. I’ve accomplished over 100, and I’ve had over 12 bill signings with presidents on important transformational legislation,” Maloney said.

She was flanked by representatives from unions for firefighters and letter carriers, both key constituencies, with Maloney having been among those leading the charge for a postal service overhaul law and for ongoing support for medical treatment and other expenses for 9/11 first responders. For years, Maloney wore an FDNY fire coat around Capitol Hill and in New York City, while pushing for full funding for laws like the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., center, long worked together. They are shown in 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In her final campaign pitch, she said there was one thing remaining on her to-do list, which seems likely to be a focus of her life after Congress: ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

“A federal Equal Rights Amendment would add an explicit guarantee of sex equality in the United States Constitution,” Maloney said. “A federal ERA would protect the right to health care, to abortion and the full range of reproductive health care. Already several courts have ruled in favor of abortion rights and Medicaid coverage of abortion based on state ERAs.”

Maloney worked to hand responsibility for the issue to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, the Brooklyn Democrat who waded into the race to endorse Nadler after The New York Times also backed him.

“Senate Leader Schumer, it’s time that you show that you are a leader for women and not voting against us. As leader of the Senate, it is time for you to schedule and find the votes for the ERA since the House has already passed it and sent it to you,” Maloney said Monday.

As a Financial Services Committee member, Maloney sponsored legislation to create a bill of rights for credit card holders that was signed into law in 2009. In the 113th Congress, Maloney spearheaded the enactment of legislation to require higher education institutions to develop and communicate policies on dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence.

Maloney has also worked on efforts to combat sexual assault and human trafficking. The former co-chair of the Women’s Caucus, Maloney donned a burka in her October 2001 House floor speech on women’s rights in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

“The veil is so thick that it’s difficult to breathe. The little mesh opening for the eyes makes it extremely difficult to even cross the road,” she said at the time.

Maloney was flanked by her two adult daughters on Monday morning. Her late husband, Clifton Maloney, died in 2009 after climbing the world’s seventh-largest peak, Cho Oyu Mountain in China.

Born Feb. 19, 1946, in Greensboro, N.C., Maloney graduated from Greensboro College.

She went on to work as a teacher and as a New York City Board of Education administrator. She went to work for the New York State legislature in 1977, where she held senior staff positions in the Assembly and the Senate. In 1982, Maloney successfully ran for a seat on the New York City Council.

Jim Saksa contributed to this report.

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