Previewing the Primary in NY's 12th Congressional District

The New York Primary Election is in less than two weeks and in the 12th Congressional District, Carolyn Maloney, who has been in congress for nearly 30 years, is up against three candidates, all in their 30s, who are looking to unseat her.

While the 14-term congresswoman is highlighting her work on Capitol Hill to secure coronavirus relief for New York’s first responders, her challengers are pushing for larger, most substantive changes.

Nationwide Pre-kindergarten, paid family medical leave, medicare for children, a public option for childcare and a universal child allowance are the major planks of lawyer and former Obama campaign staffer Suraj Patel’s platform.

Patel had previously challenged Maloney in 2018, but lost by nearly 20 points. However, he drew strong support from Millennials and first-time voters across the district’s Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods. 

“Decade after decade after decade, the excuse can’t be ‘the Republicans are bad’ while we get rolled time and again,” Patel said. "I'm running again because all of those people and so many more feel voiceless in this community."

Meanwhile, Lauren Ashcraft, a former J.P. Morgan Project Manager turned Democratic Socialist says she’s fighting for single-payer Medicare for all, a green new deal and canceling student debt. 

Ashcraft is also hoping to represent the district that spans from Maloney’s home turf of the Upper East Side down to the East Village, and over into Williamsburg, Greenpoint, the Queensbridge Houses, Long Island City, and Astoria.

“New York’s 12th Congressional District is the third most unequal district in the entire country,” Ashcraft said. “That means we’re home to billionaire’s row, but also to thousands of people that sleep on the street every single night.”

Finally, housing activist and fellow Democratic Socialist Pete Harrison is also part of the race, aiming to combat inequality with a cities-first agenda.

“Rep. Maloney, although she has done good things locally, has been part of that leadership that has not been representative of the working class in this city or this country,” Harrison said. 

Against criticism, Maloney, now in her 28th year in Congress, is pointing to the legislation she’s sponsored and the millions in funding, she’s secured to benefit her constituents over the last two years.

“We’ve modernized the L train. Is that complacent? We’ve passed paid family leave for the birth of a child. Is that complacent? What have they done? You don’t have to be elected to help people,” Maloney said of her opponents.

The New York Primary is on June 23. 


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