Democrats retake State Senate, Maloney and Epstein win easily

A line snakes out of a Stuyvesant Town polling place, with turnout being similar to presidential election years. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local politicians were easily re-elected on Tuesday, with none of the state and federal candidates facing any serious challengers in this year’s midterms.

State Senator Brad Hoylman had the easiest path to victory, not having to face any challenger at all, although many of his fellow Democrats vying to flip seats in the State Senate had much closer races. But enough were successful in their campaigns that Democrats were able to regain a majority for only the third time in the last 50 years.

Some Senate races had still not been called as of Wednesday afternoon but by Tuesday night, at least 32 Senate Democrats had won their races, and Republicans won 21 seats. The win means that Democrats control the State Senate and Assembly as well as the offices of the governor, comptroller and attorney general.

Incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney won against Republican Eliot Rabin with 86.2 percent of the vote. Rabin received 12.3 percent of the vote, and Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins got 1.5 percent of the vote. Incumbent Assembly Member Harvey Epstein beat out Juan Pagan of the Reform Party and Republican Bryan Cooper with 87 percent of the vote.

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Editorial: Re-elect Maloney and Epstein

Today is Election Day, and along with the race for governor, United States senator and attorney general, locally, in the 74th Assembly District, voters will have the opportunity to choose their Assembly member and Congress member.

During the primaries, Town & Village endorsed the incumbents, Harvey Epstein and Carolyn Maloney, for these positions. (State Senator Brad Hoylman ran uncontested during the primary and will again face no opponent on November 6.)

As for the general election, we are sticking with the aforementioned candidates for their records of accomplishment and for platforms that are in line with the concerns and values of the vast majority of their constituents.

Eliot Rabin, an Upper East Side boutique owner and Republican, and Scott Hutchins, a homeless activist in the Green Party, both hope to unseat Maloney.

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Maloney’s Green Party opponent has been homeless for years

Scott Hutchins has applied for 3,000 jobs since becoming homeless and has worked at seven. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, who recently bested an East Village hospitality executive in an unusually competitive primary, must still face two opponents in the upcoming general election. Neither opponent is well known or well-funded, and this is especially true of Green Party candidate Scott Hutchins, who’s been in New York’s shelter system for the past six and a half years.

Still, this isn’t the first time Hutchins, 42, has attempted to run for office, and since he has bounced from shelter to shelter in recent years (though not by choice), he has done so in more than one district.

When he filed his petition, he was staying in a shelter in Long Island City, but he has since been transferred to a hotel in Bushwick. Hutchins initially attempted to do an interview with this newspaper by phone, but his government-issued cell hasn’t been working right since he dropped it a few weeks ago, shattering its screen. During the interview, he lost service after a few minutes, which he had warned would probably happen. So he later met up with a Town & Village reporter at a Coffeed shop in Flatiron, to share his reasons for running and for sticking with a party that’s as broke as he is.

Maloney, he feels, has a conservative voting record, on economic policy and bank regulations, including leading up to the economic crisis a decade ago. He also brought up that Maloney had initially voted to support the Iraq war. “Even though she had tons of protesters in her district.”

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Maloney’s Republican opponent: I’m left enough to court Democrats

Eliot Rabin, pictured at one of his Peter Elliot boutiques on the Upper East Side, says he is in it to win it. (Photo courtesy of the candidate)

By Sabina Mollot

Eliot Rabin, the Republican candidate in this race, is tired of being thought of as a token candidate for his party.

“I’m in it to win it,” he said this week, while also lamenting he hasn’t gotten much support from his own party other than an early endorsement from Manhattan GOP.

Besides, said the longtime New Yorker and South Carolina native, the campaign has been going well in that he has gotten some support from the Democrat voters he’ll need to stand a chance against a party fixture like Maloney. Donations as well as interest for his campaign have come from his customers at the two Upper East Side Peter Elliot clothing boutiques he’s owned for decades as well as from his fellow alumni from Citadel Military College in South Carolina and neighbors at his building on 81st Street.

“The first question out of their mouths is, ‘Are you a Democrat or are you a Republican?’” he admitted. “But as you’re talking to people, they say they’re Democrats, but they’re not really. They have their own views. After they’ve been speaking, (you can see) they’re independent.”

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L train, noise and MCIs will be addressed at Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village TA meeting

L train construction and other train related issues will be discussed on Saturday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As was announced earlier this month, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will be holding a meeting a number of issues on Saturday, September 29 at 2 p.m.

Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg says those who attend can expect to learn more about the following topics:

One will be the L train, specifically residents’ concerns surrounding construction, and, once the shutdown begins, transportation.

“The MTA and the DOT are being awfully vague about what their plans are,” Steinberg said. “As you reported about the L train, they talk about mitigation steps but they don’t say what they are. And I love how they said they’re not really going to be 24/7, but if they need to be, they will.”

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Former opponent of Maloney loses lawsuit against Board of Elections

Sander Hicks

By Sabina Mollot

Sander Hicks, a Brooklyn Democrat who’d been knocked off the ballot — twice — in an attempt to dethrone Congress Member Carolyn Maloney this election season, has now lost a lawsuit he’d filed against the Board of Elections.

Last month, Hicks filed a suit against the BOE after he was removed from the ballot over issues with his petitions. Hicks said he got well over the necessary number of signatures at around 5,500, with 3,500 being required for candidacy, but his petition was rejected because he’d included two addresses on the cover, one his residence and the other his work. The board then sent him a letter informing him he’d have to correct it, although, according to Hicks, he had to guess the problem because he was never told what it was.

A spokesperson for the Board of Elections did not respond to requests for comment.

The letter, Hicks said, was dated August 3, but he only received it a week later, and when he resubmitted the petitions on August 13, he was told he was too late. In response, he filed his lawsuit in the New York City Supreme Court and attended a hearing on August 30.

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Former Maloney opponent suing BOE to get name back on ballot

Sander Hicks, pictured at a candidate forum in March (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Sander Hicks, a Brooklyn Democrat who tried to run against Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in the June primary — only to be knocked off the ballot after a challenge from another opponent — is hoping to run again as an independent candidate.

But first he’s suing the Board of Elections.

According to Hicks, he had nearly 5,500 signatures, which is far more than what he needed — 3,500 to run in the general election. However, he said after he submitted his petitions last month, the BOE responded in a letter to reject his petitions over the fact that he’d put two addresses on his cover sheet (one his residence, the other his office for mailing purposes.) The letter, Hicks said, was dated August 3, but he only received it a week later, and when he resubmitted the petitions on August 13, he was told he was too late. He filed his lawsuit on Friday in the New York City Supreme Court and served the board with papers on Tuesday.

“The legal department wouldn’t even meet with me,” Hicks said, calling the issue a “clerical error.”

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Maloney: SCOTUS pick an attack on Roe v. Wade

July12 kavanagh rally maloney

Congress Member Maloney with pro-choice advocates protests the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, despite a small counter-protest. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined other local elected officials and pro-choice advocates on Tuesday to oppose the nomination of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The politicians and advocates gathered in Foley Square across from the New York State Supreme Court and the focus of the rally was the possibility that Roe vs. Wade could be overturned when a new justice is confirmed, which drew two counter-protesters responding to advocates’ call to keep abortion legal.

The small but vocal group didn’t noticeably identify with any particular group but the pair, a man and woman, delayed the start of Maloney’s rally with calls of “Keep abortion legal? No!” and “Put them up for adoption!”

The protesters also made it clear that they vehemently dislike President Trump, although they agree with him on this point. Anti-choice group Created Equal had sent out a call to lobby senators to confirm Kavanaugh at rallies to be held in Washington next week, although the protesters at Maloney’s rally did not specify if they affiliated with that or any other group.

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Letters to the editor, July 5

Mud slinging and catfishing

To the Editor:

Carolyn Maloney’s victory in the primary was a confirmation by the electorate that you reward public officials for years of hard work and honesty and always delivering for your constituents.

Her opponent’s insurgent campaign began with negative tactics and ended in outrageous dishonesty. Negative campaigning will always get the public’s attention as well as a few percentage points at the polls, but in the long run, it turns the electorate off.  Mr. Patel’s campaign call for “new blood” was nothing more than an underhanded smear and baseless “ageism,” which he promoted by having his youthful campaign workers wearing ominous blood dripping t-shirts.

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Editorial: The voters have spoken

On June 26, New Yorkers cast their votes in a primary that was more eventful than usual due to a handful of upstart Congressional candidates who’d fought hard to unseat veteran lawmakers.

One, who identifies as socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, even managed to upset Rep. Joe Crowley, a Democrat representing a district in the Bronx and Queens.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, 25-year congress member Carolyn Maloney managed to hold on to her seat with wide margins, though not as overwhelmingly wide as usual.

Like with the Crowley race, Maloney’s opponent Suraj Patel tried to paint the incumbent as an establishment politician, out of touch with younger members of the Democrat Party. Ultimately voters in the 12th Congressional District either didn’t agree or didn’t care and re-elected her.

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Maloney wins primary

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

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney defeated her first serious challenger in close to a decade in a primary against NYU ethics professor and former Obama campaign staffer Suraj Patel.

Maloney, 72 and a house representative for the past 25 years, got 58.52 percent of the vote, (24,223 votes) according to unofficial results with 96.28 percent of scanners reported. Patel, 34, meanwhile, got 41.06 percent of the vote (16,995 votes). The rest (173 votes or 0.42 percent) were write-ins.

Interestingly, Patel did better than Maloney in parts of the tri-borough district, getting 2,864 votes from Brooklyn voters, while Maloney got 1,468. In Queens, he came close with 2,856 votes while Maloney got 2,919. It was in Manhattan where Maloney got the most support with 19,836 votes to Patel’s 11,275.

Patel, an East Villager with parents who emigrated from India, had managed to out-raise Maloney in recent months. He ran a pro-immigrant platform that aimed to recruit support from younger people who don’t normally vote while trying to portray the incumbent, an Upper East Side resident, as an “establishment” Democrat.

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Editorial: Help re-elect Maloney on June 26

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.)

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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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Alyssa Milano pushes for Maloney ERA bill

Alyssa Milano, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Carol Robles-Roman, co-president of the ERA Coalition, by the Fearless Girl statue (Photo by Grace Harman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Alyssa Milano has joined in the fight to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), legislation  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced 11 times she has been in office. Maloney, the bill’s lead sponsor in Congress, was joined by the “Charmed” actress, along with the ERA Coalition and activists at the Fearless Girl statue on Monday to call for the ratification of the bill. This was a few days prior to a “shadow hearing,” or unofficial hearing Maloney held for the ERA on Wednesday.

Although the amendment passed Congress in 1972, only 35 states ratified it. Thirty-eight states need to ratify it to amend the Constitution. The right to vote is currently the only right guaranteed to women in the Constitution and the ERA would guarantee that Constitutional rights apply equally to all persons regardless of their gender.

“This is an economic issue,” argued Milano on Monday. “When women earn more, it stimulates the economy and this would provide equal pay for women. Discriminatory laws are being enacted all the time but the ERA would put women on an equal footing.”

In addition to Milano, co-president of the ERA Coalition Carol Robles-Román and Jessica Lenahan, plaintiff in Supreme Court Case Castle Rock v. Gonzales, also testified at the hearing on Wednesday.

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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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