Maloney touts experience in bid for reelection

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, pictured outside her home on the Upper East Side (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

While hardly an open seat, the race for candidates hoping to represent the 12th Congressional District (most of Manhattan’s East Side as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens) is proving to be a competitive one. While the Democrat primary on June 26 has just two candidates, the only reason there are just two names on the ballot is that one of them, Suraj Patel, sued successfully against another candidate, Sander Hicks, claiming he didn’t have enough valid signatures. He did the same to an additional candidate, Peter Lindner, though he’d already been booted off the ballot by the Board of Elections. This leaves Patel, a hospitality executive who also worked on both election campaigns for the Obama administration, and Carolyn Maloney, the 25-year incumbent.

On this, Maloney, while interviewed at her home on the Upper East Side last week, mused, “For someone who said he wants more participation, I’m mystified why he’s throwing his opponent off the ballot.”

Meanwhile, Patel has also been fundraising like crazy, outpacing Maloney in recent months and trying to engage people who wouldn’t normally vote.

As for Maloney, perhaps in part due to her history of clobbering challengers at the polls, she has managed to rack up just about every endorsement there is to be had from elected officials, unions, women’s organizations and local clubs. She’s also gotten the nod from Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem.

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Republican small business owner challenging Maloney

Eliot Rabin at his Upper East Side shop for women (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In June, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney will face off against fellow Democrat Suraj Patel, but already another opponent has joined the race, this one a Republican who’s gotten the backing of Manhattan GOP.

That candidate, who’s just getting started petitioning and organizing his campaign, is Eliot Rabin, also known to some as Peter Elliot, which is his retail business on the Upper East Side.

Rabin, who’s run upscale clothing boutiques in the neighborhood since the 1970s and worked in the fashion industry in other capacities even longer, was motivated to run for office after the latest high school shooting massacre.

“After Florida, I exploded,” he said, while sitting for an interview at his women’s boutique on Madison Avenue and 81st Street. “There’s a lack of moral courage in our government.”

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Maloney opponent knocks other Dem off ballot

Congressional candidate Suraj Patel (second to left) has successfully sued two others who’d hoped to run in the primary against Carolyn Maloney, Sander Hicks and Peter Lindner. Both are now off the ballot although Lindner was already knocked off by the Board of Elections. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney will have only one challenger on the ballot during the June primary thanks to a lawsuit filed by one of her Democratic opponents, Suraj Patel, last month.

Patel had actually filed two lawsuits against two would-be candidates, Sander Hicks and Peter Lindner, alleging they didn’t have enough valid signatures on their petitions. As it turned out, the court agreed, with Judge Edgar G. Walker of the Kings Supreme Court in Brooklyn noting Hicks had only 1,140 valid signatures, which was 110 fewer than he needed. After the suit was filed last month, Hicks told Town & Village that he had gotten nearly 2,100 signatures and was confident this was more than enough.

Technically, the minimum for congressional candidates is only 1,250 but candidates know they have to get more if they expect to beat the inevitable challenges from opponents or their supporters. Signatures can be invalidated for a number of reasons, including if the person signing doesn’t live in the district or if that same person has previously signed another candidate’s petition.

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Maloney opponent suing 2 other Dems

By Sabina Mollot

The congressional seat representing New York’s 12th District that’s been held by Carolyn Maloney for a quarter century now has truly proven to be the hot seat. In a June primary, she is facing two candidates: Suraj Patel, a former employee of the Obama administration who owns a dozen motels with his family and other partners, and Sander Hicks, a small business owner and former independent publisher. Then there’s Peter Lindner, a computer programmer who ran against Maloney in 2016 and was hoping to do so again.

However, on April 24, Patel filed lawsuits against Lindner and Hicks, which according to a spokesperson for Patel, is charging insufficient and invalid petitions.

In the case of Lindner, Patel’s rep, Lis Smith, added, “The Lindner campaign failed to file the required number of signatures to be on the ballot this June 26. Unfortunately, the Board of Elections won’t enforce its own rules unless another candidate demands it, which we have. We look forward to a spirited election where Democrats have a real choice for Congress for the first time in a decade.”

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Maloney opponents square off at forum

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Democratic congressional candidates hoping to replace incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney squared off in a debate at the end of March sans the Congresswoman herself, who was originally confirmed for the event but ultimately told the organizers there was a conflict in her schedule.

The two candidates who did appear, Sander Hicks and Suraj Patel, debated at a monthly meeting for the Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan at the Seafarer’s International House at the end of March. Arthur Schwartz, chair of the organization, moderated the discussion and geared some of the talking points to broader, national issues for a change of pace because the group generally only has a chance to discuss local politics, with the candidates discussing the direction of the Democratic Party as well as healthcare, voter participation and advocating for the disabled.

Supporters of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are a substantial contingent of the members of NYPAN, with one debate attendee pointing out her tattoo of the Vermont Senator, and Schwartz put emphasis on this early in the debate, asking if the candidates had considered how these progressive voters would be represented in the Democratic National Committee.

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Candidate blasts Maloney on Israel, Middle East

Sander Hicks

By Sabina Mollot

In the race for the Congressional seat occupied by Carolyn Maloney, one of two of her Democrat challengers believes there’s a lot she’s wrong about.

Sander Hicks, a political activist who runs a carpentry businesses based in Maspeth, openly admits to being on the offensive. This is after having been advised by supporters, including his father Norman Hicks, a former World Bank economist, to “stop being so nice,” he explained.

Additionally, Hicks, 47, said, although he insisted he is trying to run a positive campaign based on “respect for all religions” (he identifies as Quaker and interfaith) he has also found Maloney to be unresponsive to concerns from constituents like himself.

Maloney, he noted, never directly responded when he called her office about long-classified documents from a Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks that were finally released in 2016, known as the “28 pages.” Instead, Hicks said, he was passed around from one office employee to the next until, finally a year later, he got a form letter response. However, it wasn’t even on the issue he’d brought up, but about Maloney’s Zadroga Act for 9/11 responder healthcare.

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Maloney’s opponent focused on immigrants’ rights, gun control

Suraj Patel, pictured at his campaign office in the East Village, has raised over $550,000. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who’s easily held her seat for 25 years, will be facing two challengers in the June primary. One of them is Suraj Patel, an East Village resident and entrepreneur, who insists that it’s not the incumbent he’s challenging, but the status quo.

“People say competition is great for democracy, but technically it’s required for it to have any meaning,” he told Town & Village this week. “A lot of people ask, ‘Why are you challenging an incumbent?’ I’m challenging a party. I couldn’t wait my turn anymore.”

Patel, who’s also an attorney (though he doesn’t practice much), has some experience in politics, having worked as an advance associate for former President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. These days, he’s an assistant adjunct professor of business ethics at New York University’s Stern Business School and also hosts a lecture series on voting rights called “Talks on Law.” He also owns, with his family, Sun Group, a company that owns motel franchises around the country. At this time, he said there are 12 motels operated by the hospitality group, some of them with partners, though none are in New York City.

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Union Square man runs against Maloney

Peter Lindner

Peter Lindner

By Sabina Mollot

Last week, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a 23-year Democrat incumbent, officially announced that she was running for reelection.

In a press release, she touted her experience fighting for transportation improvements as well as women and children’s rights.

Meanwhile, a computer programmer and resident of Union Square has entered the race against her.

Peter Lindner, a 66-year-old Democrat, said he’s never been involved in politics, either through political clubs or working for a politician. But he came to be inspired to run one day when he felt unsatisfied with a response he got from Maloney’s office when he went there with a constituent complaint.

The issue was over what he believes was corrupt behavior by another official that he wanted investigated. But after providing the congresswoman with documentation that argued his case, he said he was told by a staffer to stop calling, and that police would be called if he didn’t.

A spokesperson for Maloney declined to comment on Lindner’s claims.

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Maloney’s opponent: Corporate tax cuts will spur job growth

By Sabina Mollot

Nick Di Iorio (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Nick Di Iorio (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Although primary day is just around the corner, local elected officials aren’t facing any challengers. After all, defeating a popular incumbent is a next-to-impossible task for an unknown candidate. There’s only thing even more difficult. Defeating a popular, 22-year incumbent in the general election when you’re an unknown Republican and democrat voters outnumber Republicans six to one.

But Nicholas Di iorio, a former seminary student who was more recently a contractor with Pfizer, believes he’s got a shot. The reason, said the 28-year-old Upper East Sider (who lives a few blocks away from his opponent, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney), is redistricting.

The district today encompasses much of the East Side of Manhattan, including Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, midtown and the Upper East Side as well as Astoria, Queens and part of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The redrawing of the district maps in 2012 means that the area that became the 12th district is “now more Republican than it’s ever been,” said Di iorio.

So much so that he’s lost interest in a reality show he’d last year planned to participate in that would have followed his campaign and another race deemed to be unwinnable. A July Daily News story reported that the show idea was turned down by the Esquire channel, but according to Di iorio, though he did want to do it initially, he’d changed his mind even before it was rejected by the network.

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