By Maria Rocha-Buschel
District 12 congressional candidate and Upper East Side resident Erica Vladimer is ending her bid to replace incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Vladimer announced the end of her campaign in an emailed statement to supporters last Friday.
Vladimer said that she made the decision after difficulties fundraising and also due to a struggle with health issues, partially due to a lack of insurance since she’s been campaigning.
“Knowing myself personally, and knowing that anything I chose to do, I want to do my best, I realized that I couldn’t do that and didn’t feel comfortable with that,” she said of the overall decision.
Vladimer said that for a newcomer like herself, it was difficult to get momentum against Maloney, who already has a fundraising base as an incumbent congresswoman.
“You need a team you can pay a living wage, to provide health insurance and financial stability so that being part of a campaign is something they can rely on and that’s tough when you have to focus on fundraising when you haven’t ever done it before,” Vladimer said. “For first-time candidates, people ask if you Rolodexed everyone you know and asked literally everyone you know for a donation, and if you don’t have the kind of network that can build your financial foundation, you’re already 10 steps behind everyone else.”
She added that she is supportive of organizations like Common Cause, a nonpartisan government reform organization, that work on campaign finance reforms such as banning corporate PAC money and instituting a matching funds program to level the playing field for candidates challenging incumbents.
Vladimer also said that she has been vocal about her struggle with endometriosis and not having health insurance during the campaign made it even more difficult, so that was another factor in her decision to end the campaign.
“I’m starting to realize it was more of a factor than I wanted to consciously recognize,” she said. “Physical pain is exhausting, physically and emotionally, and the more I had to deal with that, the less energy I had to put towards the campaign in the way that I needed to. That was a big part of it, of wanting to put out a campaign reflective of who I am.”
The Upper East Side resident was a co-founder of the Sexual Harassment Working Group to combat sexual harassment in the state government, and previously accused State Senator Jeff Klein of forcibly kissing her outside a bar in Albany while she was a staffer in his office.
Vladimer is an attorney and joined Klein’s staff through a fellowship in the State Senate after law school. She was assigned to the policy team for the Independent Democratic Conference and viewed her role there as nonpartisan, in order to provide the best legal representation she could.
Vladimer said that at this point, she isn’t sure if she’ll specifically endorse another candidate but plans to stay involved in the campaign.
“I’m of the mindset that it’s up to voters to decide who it will be,” she said. “I hope that I can help voters get to know who all the candidates are and support them where I can.”
UPDATE, February 18: This story has been edited to clarify that Vladimer does not work with Common Cause in an official capacity.