Is it East v. West or West v. East? – The fur’s begun to fly. West Siders are incensed at my assuming, in last week’s column, “When East Meets West,” that the newly drawn 12th Congressional District continued Carolyn Maloney’s incumbency. They contend that Jerry Nadler, whose residence is now in the 12th and who has also represented parts of the new district, has every right to claim that he is the incumbent in the newly drawn district. I reached out to some West Side electeds and political insiders for comment and have so far received only a response from Debra Cooper, State Committeewoman, 67th AD. A West Side District Leader contacted me about the deadline for getting in a statement, but I never received it despite my follow up. All responses will be included in upcoming columns. Here is Cooper’s statement:
“The Special Master maps were MALICIOUS, and when it came to the island of Manhattan reeking of ignorance. I am sure the malicious mapmaker cackled in glee as he divided Manhattan in a completely unjustified way.
“The numbers of the district are irrelevant. It is the geography that matters. Upper Manhattan is no more Congresswoman’s Maloney’s district than it is Congressman Nadler’s district. Historically, she has had the east side, and Congressman Nadler has always had the west side.
“She has had lots of her district in Queens. Just as Congressman Nadler has had Brooklyn and the Jewish neighborhoods there. So change the names [from Maloney to Nadler] in your first paragraph and change the SHE’S to a HE and the sentences would be equally true. It is just as true that Maloney is running in Nadler’s district. Short example [referring to column]: “He’s been presiding in the district for 30 years.” And SHE wants to kick HIM out. “Astounding?” That is a valid true statement.
“The mapmaker created a district that no matter the outcome can only harm NY by having a respected and influential Chair lose their seat. And help Republicans gain Congress ... to the potential loss of democracy for our country.”
Michael and Virginia (who didn’t provide last names) commented in the online edition of Our Town about my “When East Meets West” column. They didn’t indicate where they resided:
“Arlene Kayatt’s opening – “She’s been presiding in the district for 30 years. And he wants to kick her out. Astounding?” seems a little harsh. Why point the finger at Representative Nadler instead of targeting Jonathan Cervas who published the new, court-approved district lines which have literally redrawn the map of power in New York State. Nadler is 74 – Maloney is 76 years of age. Both Representatives are currently Chair of very important House Committees and have served their time representing their district constituents with honor. It won’t be an easy decision for us in the Democratic Primary but given their age and the lack of term limits for Members in Congress, we’ll take a closer look at their younger opponents and their political platform.”
I reached out to East and West Side electeds to find out if they were endorsing in the race. So far, here’s what I’ve gotten: UES Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright of the 76th AD said “All a person has to do is tell Carolyn Maloney, no, she can’t do it, and she will prove them wrong. [She] has endless energy.” She’s endorsing Maloney. UES Council Member (District 5) Julie Menin said that she has “not made an endorsement in the [73rd] assembly or Congressional elections.” Democratic District Leader in the 76th AD Ben Wetzler, who was initially supporting Rana Abdelhamid’s candidacy, said he was “not really sure” whom he was going to vote for since she [Abdelhamid] dropped out of the race.
As for the candidates in the 73rd Assembly primary race – Alex Bores, Kellie Leeson, Adam Roberts, Russell Squire – they are all supporting Maloney, although Maloney isn’t endorsing in the race. Nor are Maloney, Seawright or Menin. Nadler is also not endorsing in the AD race. One of those Assembly candidates will be the presumptive Assembly Member come November and both Nadler and Maloney are protecting their turf by not endorsing. After all, the AD primary is on June 28. The CD’s primary is August 23. So, why make an enemy of the presumptive elected new Assembly Member whose endorsement either will be seeking for the November election?
At my request Nadler and Maloney submitted statements about their respective candidacies. Excerpts of their statements:
Nadler: “I’m very excited to be running in the new NY-12 and I’m eager to share my track record of progressive accomplishments with Manhattanites on both sides of Central Park. I know that I’m the right person to represent this new district: New Yorkers know me and my record of delivering for my constituents, they trust me to vote the right way – even on the hardest of votes – for them and their families, and they’ve seen my principled leadership on vital issues like defending our democracy, fighting the rising tide of gun violence, and protecting women’s rights. I’ve stood up to bullies like Donald Trump and the NRA – and I intend to continue standing up for New Yorkers.”
Maloney: “Nadler and I have been friends and colleagues for many years, and have worked on important legislation together. However, I believe my record of following through, passing legislation and getting things done speaks for itself.
I am a proven progressive with a track record of delivering results for my district. I have consistently been ranked as one of the most effective members of Congress by independent good governance groups.
I also think that in this unique moment, with the recent outrageous SCOTUS opinion, we need women in leadership more than ever. I know firsthand from experience that the issues which are addressed and prioritized by our elected officials change when women have a seat at the table... I’m running for re-election because I care about serving our community, and there is still so much work to be done. I’ll never stop fighting for New York.”