While less of a high-profile fight than that of Cuomo and Nixon, locally the hot seat is occupied by Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, who is running against Suraj Patel, a hospitality executive and NYU professor of business ethics who is hoping to ride the “blue wave” against the Trump administration (as well as the former breakaway group of State Senate Democrats) to victory.
This so-called blue wave has been an interesting phenomenon. It has helped Nixon, an actress who has never held office, gain credibility so far in her attempts to argue Cuomo is not a true Democrat. However, her attempt to dethrone an incumbent is still an uphill one as it is also for Patel, despite his being able to outraise Maloney in recent months.
The race has not been without its controversies. As Town & Village previously reported, Patel sued two other candidates over invalid petitions and they’ve since been knocked off the ballot. Additionally, other published reports have shown discrepancies over what has been Patel’s primary residence and where he’s voted in recent years.
Town & Village interviewed Patel, an East Villager who grew up in Indiana with parents who emigrated from India, about his campaign, in March. He has some relevant political experience, having worked on both campaigns for former President Obama and having worked pro bono as an attorney for immigrants stranded at JFK last year during a travel ban. Patel would actually like to defund ICE and with immigration detention centers where families are being separated indefinitely currently making headlines, the idea doesn’t just come off as the rantings of a far-left fringe candidate. (This week, Maloney signed into legislation that would end this despicable and un-American policy and has been protesting the separations.)
Like Maloney, Patel considers gun control and funding the MTA top priorities.
Due to the typically dismal numbers seen at primary races, the 34-year-old candidate’s strategy has been to engage people who might not normally vote while also painting his opponent as an “establishment” Democrat.
While we believe he has a firm grasp of the issues, and we share his view that incumbents aren’t necessarily entitled to hold on to their seats unless indicted for some major ethical breach, we are nonetheless giving the nod to Maloney in this race.
It’s true that Maloney is getting the backing of the so-called establishment — she has locked in pretty much every endorsement a candidate could want and still has a bigger war chest — but we believe this is because she has earned the trust of the public.
It’s tempting to want to oust the entire Congress when thinking of the gridlock that has persisted in the House and Senate, but replacing Maloney in particular would do nothing to improve that situation. This is mainly because odds are she would only be replaced by another Democrat in this district but also because any stubbornness on her own part when voting or negotiating has consistently been a reflection of the values of her constituents.
She’s a proven, tireless fighter, in particular for human rights and transportation for New Yorkers, and even in contentious, competitive races, she has conducted herself with class.
For these reasons and others, Town & Village endorses Carolyn Maloney and encourages readers to vote in the primary on June 26.