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Suraj Patel To Challenge Maloney for Congressional Seat for Third Time

Rep. Carolyn Maloney and challenger Suraj Patel (Campaign Website / Instagram)

Feb. 14, 2022 By Christian Murray

Suraj Patel, who unsuccessfully ran against Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in 2018 and again in 2020, announced today that he is mounting yet another challenge.

Patel, an attorney who lost to Maloney by 3,200 votes in 2020, is back for the third time in his quest to represent the 12th Congressional District. The first time Patel challenged Maloney in 2018, she beat him by more than 8,000 votes.

He made the announcement Monday while releasing a 90 second ad posted to social media that attacked Maloney. The ad accuses her of playing a role in the drawing of the new congressional district map, which cuts outs progressive neighborhoods that have been less receptive to her.

“Afraid of another challenge, our representative gerrymandered young and Latino voters out of her district,” Patel says in the ad, referring to portions of Astoria and Williamsburg that are no longer part of the 12th Congressional district.

“Call me old-fashioned, but I think voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.”

State Democrats who drew the congressional maps deny that gerrymandering took place. However, a New York Times article, based on unnamed sources, said that she was calling for such changes.

The current Congressional District 12 Map (left) vs. the new map. Significant portions of Astoria and Williamsburg have been cut out of the new map. (Source: RedistrictingandYou.org)

Maloney, 75, was first elected to the 14th Congressional District in 1992 and has represented the 12th Congressional District since 2013.

Maloney and Patel had a fierce battle in 2020.

She led him by just 648 votes on the night of the election and a battle ensued over the counting of absentee ballots. As many as 20 percent of the absentee ballots were thrown out due to technicalities. He took the case to court before ultimately conceding.

Patel, 38, said that it is time for new leadership.

“Democrats need a new generation of leaders,” he said in a statement. “This is a new decade, a new district, and as we enter year three of a pandemic we’ve got new challenges, which means we need a government that proactively develops 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.”

Patel is not the only challenger in the race. Rana Abdelhamid, a progressive, has also announced she is running. So too has Maya Contreras, a housing and voting rights advocate.

The district covers sections of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn—including the East Village, the West Village, the Upper East Side, most of Midtown as well as Long Island City, parts of Astoria and Greenpoint in Brooklyn.

The primary is scheduled for June 28.

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