Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s tensions with fellow Democratic members of the New York congressional delegation are intensifying as the House Democrats' 2022 campaign chief's home-state colleagues blast him for plans to run in a redrawn district that could pit him against freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones in a primary.
Maloney chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a position that entails trying to protect vulnerable incumbents in the midterm elections. Maloney, who has represented a sprawling district north and west of New York City since 2013, was quick to announce his plans to run in the newly created 17th Congressional District nearby — even though his current constituency is based more in the neighboring 18th District.
New York's new map is expected to be finalized Friday by a state court.
Jones is currently weighing whether to run in the 17th or 16th District, which includes considerable territory represented by fellow progressive freshman and Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Jamaal Bowman.
Bowman became the latest in a string of members to take aim at Maloney publicly, accusing him of trying to pit two minority members against each other so he can have an easier race.
“My promise to the people of NY-16 is this: Just as I did when I ran in 2020, and just like I have done throughout my first term, I will never be outfought and I will never be outworked. Our beautifully diverse coalition is building something special, and we won’t stop now,” Bowman said in a statement Thursday.
"But let’s also be clear about this: Two black men who worked hard to represent their communities, who fight hard for their constituents in Congress and advocate for dire needs in our communities, should not be pitted against each other all because congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to have a slightly easier district for himself. The Democratic Party should not tolerate or condone those who try to dismantle and tear down black power in Congress,” he added.
PROPOSED NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL MAP SOWS CHAOS FOR DEMOCRATS
"The solution is simple. Congressman Maloney should run in his own district. I’ll be running in mine,” he concluded.
Bowman’s comments follow Rep. Ritchie Torres blasting Maloney allies, stating that Jones may be “ideologically better suited” to run in a different seat: “The thinly veiled racism here is profoundly disappointing. A black man is ideologically ill suited to represent a Westchester County District that he represents presently and won decisively in 2020? Outrageous," wrote Torres, elected in 2020 and slated to represent a newly drawn district that takes in Riverdale, in the Bronx, and points north into Westchester County.
And liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued that if Maloney takes on Jones, he should step down from his leadership position. She noted that he is opting out of running for an open seat that represents a larger majority of his current constituents.
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While Maloney has come under fire from a sizable number of members of the Democratic caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) praised him during a press conference Thursday.
"We have a great chairman of the DCCC," she said. "He has worked very hard. I'm very proud of the work that he's done. He is elected by the members. He's not appointed by the speaker."
Pelosi added that she is "not getting involved" in the politics of New York redistricting.