Primary Election Updates: Wyoming and Alaska Live News
One morning last week, a group of leading feminists gathered inside the former Upper East Side home of one of their ancestors, Eleanor Roosevelt, for an emergency meeting.
The purpose of the rally, convened by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, was technically to lay out a 12-point plan to address the backlash in abortion rights that is consuming the country.
“I’ve been in this fight for a long time,” said the 15-term MP. “We take a step forward, they push us back.”
But as she and others took turns speaking, attendees — including leaders from the Feminist Majority and the National Organization for Women — also found themselves grappling with another, more immediate crisis: the possibility that Ms. Maloney, one of the most powerful women in Congress, could be removed from office this month after three decades.
Just a week before the Aug. 23 primaries in New York, Ms. Maloney is nearing the end of an importunate, overt and increasingly vicious primary fight against her longtime neighbor in Congress, Representative Jerrold Nadler, after a New York court unexpectedly combined their Manhattan precincts. this spring.
With extremely similar opinions, the candidates have struggled all summer to differentiate themselves. Mr. Nadler, 75, tried to claim the progressive mantle and pointed to his status as the city’s latest Jewish congressman. An upstart challenger, Suraj Patel, a 38-year-old lawyer, is targeting young voters, stressing the need for a generational shift against two septuagenarians first elected in the 1990s.
For Ms Maloney, 76, and her allies, however, the race has increasingly centered on women – both their electoral potential to influence the outcome and the importance of protecting one of their own at a when the Supreme Court and Republican-led states roll back reproductive rights guaranteed half a century ago.
The congresswoman loaned the campaign $900,000 of her own fortune and spends much of it on a TV ad reinforcing the message: “You can’t send a man to do a woman’s job,” she said. told New Yorkers.
“He can maybe speak better than me,” Ms Maloney said in an interview after the event, referring to Mr Nadler. “Men are more likely to trust. But I am a fighter. Women fight for women.
A staple of the rarified Upper East Side and the back rooms of Congress, Ms. Maloney is not a nationally household name or a particularly well-known speaker. But few women have accrued more influence in Washington, or used it with such focus, to push for the equal rights amendment, paid family leave, a national museum of women’s history. and the fight against gender-based violence.
“I’m not here to speak out against Jerry Nadler,” said Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms. Magazine and spokeswoman for the women’s movement, who lives in the district. “It’s fair for me to say that Carolyn Maloney is the most needed, the most trusted and the most experienced, and we should send her back to Washington.”
Ms Maloney, a tenacious politician known for her cold 5 a.m. calls and arm-wringing campaigns that can drag on for years, was less touchy.
In the interview, she said emphatically that Mr. Nadler doesn’t work as hard as she does, especially on local issues; accused him of taking credit for a woman’s work and said the residents of one of the wealthiest and most liberal neighborhoods in the country needed her — not him or Mr. patel.
The tactic caused Mr Nadler’s supporters to bristle, particularly after she attacked him for highlighting his Jewish identity. She had previously insisted that she would never ask women to vote for her based on her gender.
Ms Maloney’s long career in public life – which began as a teacher in East Harlem in the 1970s after a car accident nearly claimed her life and ended her aspirations as a ballerina — and his campaign messages have undoubtedly been more varied than that.
She donned an FDNY jacket for years fighting for 9/11 first responder medical benefits. She’s helped bring home billions of dollars to support the Second Avenue subway and recently overhauled the Postal Service, accomplishments she eagerly touts on the campaign trail.
The current campaign has also been hampered by overhauling legislation, letters and statements Ms Maloney made years ago questioning whether there was a link between vaccines and autism in children, which, according to its opponents, effectively lent a voice of confidence to one of the most common. — and debunked — claims of vaccine skeptics.
Ms Maloney said she “regrets” asking about the subject and sought attention for her efforts in distributing the Covid vaccine. But that didn’t stop Mr. Patel and Mr. Nadler from confusing him, or deter an anti-Maloney super PAC from booking more than $200,000 in 11th Hour ads amplifying the attack. (Ms Maloney called the black money ad dishonest and “just another example of New York’s network of political old boys trying to bring down a powerful woman by any means necessary.”)
Ms Maloney’s campaign used a similar framing to reject Senator Chuck Schumer’s endorsement of Mr Nadler on Monday, saying Ms Maloney was the best choice at a “time when women’s rights are under threat”.
Indeed, few priorities have been more closely associated with her career as the work of the women’s movement. She declared her candidacy for Congress on the day of the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey limiting abortion rights. She upset a longtime male congressman in 1992, when there were only about 28 women in the House; she fought to pass bills cracking down on human trafficking and expanding paid family leave.
Her as-yet-unsuccessful work to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (written by Alice Paul, a relative of her late husband) was so thorough that Ms Maloney attended the Met Gala last year wearing a dress yellow, green and purple calling for its passage. Enshrining women in the Constitution, she believes, is “the answer” to many efforts to restrict reproductive rights and discriminate against women.
Along the way, Ms Maloney broke barriers for women at nearly every stage of her career – becoming the first person to give birth on city council (“It was, like, national news,” she said ri) and, more recently, the first woman to lead the powerful House Oversight Committee.
However, some political strategists and academics watching the race believe the appeal may be more limited than Ms Maloney would like – especially given Mr Nadler’s track record in fighting many of the same issues.
Her team was quick to point out that Ms. Maloney does not have a monopoly on female voters. The campaign soon put together a Nadler women’s group led by former Manhattan borough presidents Gale Brewer and Ruth W. Messinger. “America can’t afford to lose him,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said in Mr Nadler’s TV ad. (Planned Parenthood and NARAL have endorsed both incumbents.)
“I’m very proud of my record supporting a wide range of women leaders for elected office,” said Cynthia Nixon, a Nadler supporter and actress who ran for governor of New York in 2018. Carolyn’s record just doesn’t hold the candle for Jerry’s record of passing important civil rights legislation – truly at the forefront of every major piece of LGBT civil rights legislation over the past 20 years. years – and courageous, principled votes, like voting ‘no’ on the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act.”
Mr Patel, for his part, said the bickering between the two incumbents over who deserves credit for what was most telling.
“We’re running a race focused on the future, and they’re both running a race, frankly, making fun of each other about the past,” he said, emphasizing that he was okay with it. with their positions.
But Ms. Maloney’s supporters insist there’s a difference between holding the right positions on women’s issues and making it a centerpiece of your job in Congress.
“Even though a lot of male legislators believe in a woman’s right to choose, none of them have called me out and pushed me to action,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Ms Ossorio is so convinced that she has distributed copies of a letter she wrote in support of Ms Maloney to residents of her East Side building. “She puts women first when making decisions,” she said.
Sitting opposite a portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt the other day, Ms Maloney put a similar frame on the contest with Mr Patel and his former ally Mr Nadler.
“It’s woman time,” Ms Maloney said. “Now is the time when we need our most experienced and tough leaders in Washington to fight for women’s rights and reverse this trend.”