House Democrats in the state of New York are in disarray, attacking each other over a likely primary showdown between two high-profile progressive Congressmen.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney announced Monday that he would be seeking re-election in New York’s 17th Congressional District, after a court-ordered special master published a draft set of maps for New York’s House delegation. The special master’s maps were the result of a ruling from the New York State Court of Appeals, which ruled that the state legislature’s maps for Congress and the State Senate were partisan gerrymanders in violation of the state constitution.
“While the process to draw these maps without the legislature is against the will of voters, if the newly-announced maps are finalized, I will run in New York’s 17th Congressional District. NY-17 includes my home and many of the Hudson Valley communities I currently represent,” Maloney tweeted Monday.
“Further, I believe I am the only sitting member who resides in NY17,” Maloney added in another tweet.
As the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman noted Wednesday, Maloney would be moving from his current district, NY-18. Under the new maps, Maloney’s district would be considered vulnerable in the current political environment, since the district voted for Joe Biden by just five points in 2020. But a recent internal poll from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has shown that Republicans lead in the generic ballot by 8 points in competitive districts, and another poll by the Republican Super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund found that “Biden +8 districts are now tossups,” as The Daily Wire reported. Instead, Maloney would be moving to a safer Biden +10 district. However, in doing so, Maloney, who is the chairman of the DCCC, would be running in a primary against freshman progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones, who currently represents the 17th district.
According to The Hill, Jones would still represent an overwhelming majority of the current district under the new maps. But Wasserman noted Monday that Jones technically lives in the new 16th district. As such, should the new maps be adopted, Jones would be caught in the rock-and-a-hard-place position of having to run against Maloney in the district he mostly represents, or having to run in NY-16 against Jamaal Bowman, another black progressive and fellow member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Politico notes that a number of Democrats have raised the issue privately, going so far as to push for Maloney to be ousted from his position as chair of the DCCC.
Jones lashed out at Maloney Monday. “Sean Patrick Maloney did not even give me a heads up before he went on Twitter to make that announcement,” he said, via Politico’s Ally Mutnick. “And I think that tells you everything you need know about Sean Patrick Maloney.”
Jones’ colleague Ritchie Torres, who represents the nearby 15th Congressional District, and along with Jones is one of two black gay members of Congress, also criticized Maloney for attempting to push Jones out of his district. “The thinly veiled racism here is profoundly disappointing,” Torres tweeted Wednesday. “A black man is ideologically ill suited to represent a Westchester County District that he represents presently and won decisively in 2020? Outrageous.”
“There’s a simple solution here,” Torres added. “Maloney should run in NY-18, which he mostly represents. Jones in NY-17, which he mostly represents Bowman in NY-16, which he mostly represents. Problem solved.”