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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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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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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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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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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