After an extra two months of campaigning, the contentious Democratic primary race in Manhattan’s newly-drawn 12th Congressional District ended in under an hour after polls closed on Tuesday night.
Upper West Side incumbent Rep. Jerrold Nadler won in a landslide with over 55% of the vote, according to preliminary election night results, over fellow Upper East Side incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s roughly 24% and attorney Suraj Patel’s roughly 19% (Ashmi Sheth, a fourth candidate, claimed about 1% of the vote).
“This district does not belong to me, or to my opponents for that matter,” Nadler said in his victory speech. “It belongs only to the voters of this district, the New Yorkers who get up every day and busy themselves with building a better, fairer city. Those New Yorkers get to choose who best represents the people and values of this city. And you know what? I think the voters made themselves clear tonight.”
By early evening on August 23, three hours from the closing of polls, just under 102,500 of Manhattan’s 789,892 registered Democrats, tallied in February, had checked in to cast their ballots in person, either on election day or during early voting — on par with the first summer primary. Across Manhattan’s three Congressional districts, over 23,700 mail-in ballots were received by the NYC Board of Elections (BOE).
A Chapter Closed
Late Tuesday evening, Maloney announced on Twitter that she’d called Nadler to “congratulate him on his victory.”
“If there was one important lesson I learned in Congress, it is that when women are at the table where decisions get made, the menu of issues expands and the agenda changes to include things that directly affect our lives, our children and our families,” she wrote, concluding that it had “been an honor, a joy and a privilege to work for you and with you.”
Maloney held a seat in Congress for nearly three decades, since 1993, during which time she wrote and passed over 74 pieces of legislation. She also became the first woman to chair the Joint Economic Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, a role she still holds.
Patel, a third-time challenger of Maloney’s, had felt hopeful at the polls. “If there’s one thing I have, it’s an inordinate amount of energy and stamina,” he said standing outside of Norman Thomas High School, at East 33rd Street. (Leading up to the big day, Patel ran to a handful of polling sites and operated an ice cream truck to campaign in the district; he averaged 25,000 steps a day during the race).
“When I talk about generational change and how much we need it, it isn’t just a slogan — it’s a fact of life,” Patel said at his results viewing party, acknowledging defeat.
One voter at the East 33rd Street polling site admitted that though Maloney and Nadler’s decades of experience may lend them an advantage in Congress, he ultimately voted for Patel. “I was a little torn, but I want to see change,” he said. Others also made split-second decisions or were reluctant to reveal how they’d cast their votes. For Alex Ross, an Upper West Side voter at P.S. 87, the choice to support Nadler was an easy one. “No question,” he said.
In Manhattan’s northern-most Congressional district, NY-13, incumbent Rep. Adriano Espaillat pulled out nearly 80% of the vote against challengers Francisco Spies and Michael Hano, according to NYC BOE results.
Tried and True In New Territory — And a Fresh Face
Just as far north on the West Side and stretching into East Harlem, in State Senate District 30, incumbent Cordell Cleare secured an easy victory with nearly 70% of the vote over challenger Shana Harmongoff, election night results showed.
The win was even more decisive for fellow incumbent Brad Hoylman, who’s represented parts of Chelsea and Midtown in the current State Senate District 27 for nearly a decade. He swept almost 73% of the vote over Maria Danzilo in the newly-drawn District 47, which spans from the West Village through to the Upper West Side. “I’m going to run like this is the toughest challenge of my life,” he told the Spirit in July.
Elissa, a voter at P.S. 3 on Hudson Street, lamented being separated from her previous representatives by the drawing of new maps, a result of redistricting. “I love Jerry Nadler and I love Brad Hoylman,” she said.
The State Senate campaign to end with the biggest bang was that of Democratic Socialists of America-backed Kristen Gonzalez, who will become a fresh face representing a newly-drawn District 59, which spans from Stuyvesant Town through Tudor City on Manhattan’s East Side to Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Astoria, Queens.
Finishing with over 58% of the vote, according to NYC BOE data, she’d been up against four opponents, including Nomiki Konst — who dropped out of the race on the first day of early voting — and Elizabeth Crowley, the only candidate aside from Gonzalez to make a dent with roughly 32% of the vote.
“Neighborhoods across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens resoundingly elected a 27-year-old socialist Latina to office,” Gonzalez tweeted after her victory, adding that “our movement beat more than a million dollars in money meant to stop us.”
“I think the voters made themselves clear tonight.” Rep. Jerrold Nadler