BY MICHELLE L. PRICE and BRENDAN FARRINGTON
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney’s three-decade career in the U.S. House is coming to a close after she lost Tuesday to her longtime colleague-turned-rival Jerry Nadler, a Democratic congressman who has served just as long as she has.
Nadler and Maloney each chair powerful committees and had spent 30 years representing Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Upper East Side, respectively. But they ended up in the same race after new redistricting maps merged much of their longtime congressional districts.
In other races Tuesday, another incumbent — first-term progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones — was on the verge of defeat, conceding his primary in a new district. Meanwhile, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, survived a primary challenge. He too faced an unexpected fight after redrawn political maps led to a scramble in the second-largest blue state in the country.
There was an added degree of uncertainty to how New York’s congressional primary contests would shake out. It was the second primary election day in New York this summer after statewide and state assembly primaries were held two months ago. New York voters are not accustomed to casting primary ballots this late in the summer — and certainly not used to casting them twice — and many were finding their longtime district lines had shifted, adding to confusion.
In Florida races, an incumbent Republican narrowly defeated a far-right provocateur. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a conservative firebrand, won his primary with the specter of a federal investigation looming over him.
Some of the top elections:
END OF AN ERA
The race between Maloney, 76, and Nadler, 75, became contentious as they sparred to represent a new district, New York’s 12th District, spanning Central Park and linking two iconic New York City neighborhoods whose residents claim very distinct identities. The two stopped speaking after deciding to run against each other, Nadler said, and the campaign became barbed, with Maloney questioning his mental acuity.
Nadler, who was endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, has talked up his role overseeing Donald Trump’s impeachments while serving as chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Maloney has touted her own check on the former president while serving as chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee and positioned herself as a feminist champion.
Challenging them both was 38-year-old lawyer Suraj Patel, who argued it was time for a new face in Congress.
A CROWDED FIELD FOR AN OPEN SEAT
With Nadler and Maloney running in the district immediately north, a congressional seat covering southern Manhattan, including Wall Street, and Brooklyn, is a rare open contest in one of the most liberal and influential areas of the country.
New York’s 10th District attracted a bevy of progressive candidates, including an incumbent congressman from the New York City suburbs, Mondaire Jones, who moved to the area to run. Jones, one of the first openly gay Black members of Congress, said it was important to have an LGBTQ representative in the district that includes the West Village and the Stonewall Inn, the site of riots that gave birth to the gay rights movement.
But results showed him trailing both Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor who served as counsel to House Democrats in the first impeachment inquiry against Trump, and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. Jones conceded Tuesday night.
New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who last served in Congress in 1981, were also in the race. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also briefly was a candidate but dropped out last month.
HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ CAMPAIGN CHIEF WINS PRIMARY
Maloney, who became New York’s first openly gay congressman when he was elected a decade ago, survived a primary challenge from state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in New York’s new 17th District, home to idyllic towns along the historic Hudson River Valley.
Maloney, who had the backing of former President Bill Clinton, campaigned on Democrats’ recent legislative wins in Congress and warned that the congressional seat could fall to Republicans in November if the Democratic nominee is too liberal.
Biaggi, a 36-year-old progressive endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a granddaughter of former Bronx congressman Mario Biaggi. She had sought to portray Maloney as out of touch and part of the establishment.
STATE GOP CHAIR DEFEATS CONTROVERSIAL CANDIDATE
New York’s Republican Party chair, Nick Langworthy, won a primary in western New York by defeating controversial Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino in New York’s redrawn 23rd District.
Paladino, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010, has a long history of inflammatory and offensive remarks, including recent comments that praised Adolf Hitler and circulated conspiracy theories around mass shootings.
The heated primary came as Langworthy and Paladino sought to replace GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs, who decided not to seek reelection after facing backlash from his own party for voicing support for an assault weapons ban following a racist mass shooting in his hometown of Buffalo in May.
In addition to the primary races, New Yorkers elected two new House members to fill vacancies for the rest of the year.
Democrat Pat Ryan won one of the special elections, a battleground race in southern and central New York to replace Democrat Antonio Delgado, who became New York’s lieutenant governor. Ryan defeated Republican Marc Molinaro in what is currently New York’s 19th Congressional District.
In western New York, Republican Joe Sempolinski defeated Democrat Max Della Pia in a special general election to serve out the rest of the year in what is currently New York’s 23rd District. Sempolinski will replace Republican Rep. Tom Reed, who resigned in May after being accused of sexual misconduct.
FAR-RIGHT PROVOCATEUR LOSES AGAIN
Florida Republican Rep. Dan Webster defeated Laura Loomer, a far-right provocateur in Florida who’s been banned on some social media networks because of anti-Muslim and other remarks.
Webster had been in an unexpectedly tight race against Loomer, a nationally known activist who sought to align herself with former President Donald Trump.
Webster, who has served central Florida districts since 2011, won the primary for a race in Florida’s 11th District, which is home to The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community and a GOP stronghold.
Loomer unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2020, winning a Republican primary but losing the general election that year to incumbent Democrat Lois Frankel for a Palm Beach-area seat that includes Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
On social media, Loomer regularly posted conspiracy theories and misinformation around Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, the first Somali American elected to Congress. Among them was the false claim that Omar and other Democrats were plotting to institute Sharia law in Minnesota.
GAETZ WINS REPUBLICAN PRIMARY AMID SCANDAL
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Trump protégé who is under federal investigation in a sex trafficking case, won a primary contest that was seen as a test of whether he could keep support among moderate Republicans.
Gaetz has not been charged and denies wrongdoing. He was facing a challenge from Mark Lombardo, a former Marine and executive at FedEx who had blanketed the western Panhandle with attack ads centering around the investigation as he tried to take him on in Florida’s 1st Congressional District.
Rebekah Jones, a former Department of Health employee who questioned the state’s COVID-19 data, won the Democratic primary for the seat in the heavily Republican district. A state inspector general’s report concluded Jones’ allegations were unfounded, but in her race for Congress, she tapped into national support for fundraising, bringing in more than $500,000.
Farrington reported from Tallahassee, Fla.
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