2022 midterms: New district map pits powerful Democrats against each other

It's no longer just a West Side Story for Rep. Jerry Nadler. New congressional district maps were released early Saturday morning after a judge tossed the original maps saying they were drawn to heavily favor Democrats.

For the past 30 years, Nadler has represented the Upper West Side and Rep. Carolyn Maloney has represented the Upper East Side. But now the two neighborhoods have been combined, pitting two of the most powerful House Democrats against each other in a primary.

Sid Davidoff, a former adviser to former mayors John Lindsay and David Dinkins, called the scenario a shame.

"Both have been tremendous cheerleaders for New York City and New York state and now we're going to lose one of them," Davidoff said. "Clearly it's a shame."

Undeterred by these two strong incumbents running for the new 12th congressional district seat, Suraj Patel also announced his candidacy on Monday. Patel lost to Maloney by less than four points when he ran in 2020. He said that incumbents are the very reason Democrats are poised to possibly lose the majority in Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.

"They're going to be competing to take credit for the current state of the country, the economy, crime, and livability in New York," Patel said. "They can have it. People are looking for an alternative."

But this primary could very well shape the national political landscape.

Nadler chairs the House Judiciary Committee and Maloney leads the House Oversight and Reform Committee. If Democrats were to lose the House majority in the fall, which is a very real possibility, both of these committees could become a check on President Joe Biden.

"Not having a senior member or minority senior member on one of those committees is devastating to the city and state," said Davidoff, the chair of the Government and Regulatory Affairs Group at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron.  

But the race is already getting heated, with Maloney releasing pictures of Nadler at an event last week, slumped over sitting on a bench, with his legs dangling. 

Nadler in a statement said that the district "belongs to no individual candidate."

"Throughout my life they've told me to step aside, that women shouldn't be here, shut up," Maloney countered. "I am not shutting up. I am not stepping aside. I am going to run with everything I can."

Petitioning officially began on Saturday, so now the clock is counting down until the congressional and state Senate primaries on Aug. 13. 

The primary election for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller is still slated for June 28.