Mixed Bag for NY Incumbents as Clarke and Nadler Win, Engel Loses, Maloney In Trouble

new york primary elections
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) voting Tuesday at a school in Riverdale. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Long-time Democratic Congressional incumbents from New York had mixed results in Tuesday’s primary elections, with Reps. Yvette Clarke and Jerrold Nadler easily winning, Eliot Engel losing and Carolyn Maloney holding a slim lead in a race that will come down to absentee ballots.

Voting results thus far are only of the Primary Day and Early in-person ballots; hundreds of thousands of voters mailed absentee ballots this year, due to concerns about in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tallying of absentee ballots, which must have been postmarked by Primary Day, will not begin until next week.

New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch fell short in his first national political race, garnering just 9.4% of the vote for third place in a five-way Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District, which includes portions of the Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Park Slope and Crown Heights neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke easily held the seat, with 62.3 percent of the vote. Adem Bunkeddeko came in second, with 17.9%. (All New York City results are courtesy of AP via NY1.)

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Deutsch conceded that Clarke’s lead was insurmountable even with the absentee ballots yet to be tallied.

“I am deeply proud to have run a campaign that focused on improving the quality of life of all residents of NY-9,” Deutsch said. “Even while contending with a global pandemic, unrest in the city, and the inability to run a standard campaign, we still managed to get our message out to thousands of voters. It was a phenomenal experience to get to know the many communities that make up NY-9, and I will treasure this experience. I look forward to seeing the results of the absentee ballot count, which will provide a more accurate picture of the votes cast in this election.”

Deutsch went on to congratulate Clarke “on her presumed win,” and said he is “eager to continue working with her to serve our community.”

new york primary elections
New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, a candidate for the 9th Congressional District, engaging in socially distanced campaigning last week.

The 9th District election was marred by reports of irregularities at voting locations. Some Jewish voters looking for the 9th District race on their ballots said they did not see it, and when they asked poll workers, they were erroneously told that this  election did not include the 9th District race. In fact, the 9th District election was simply on the reverse side of the ballot. Others reported being told that all they had to do was sign in when they entered the precinct, and then were told they could leave before actually voting, thereby discouraging them from casting their votes. Some felt they were victims of profiling, as the poll workers presumed they would vote for Deutsch.

Deutsch concluded his statement Wednesday by thanking his campaign team, volunteers and voters, and said, “And to all the voters across the district who were prevented from casting votes yesterday – I will not allow that to be ignored. I intend to get to the bottom of what caused these widespread instances of voter suppression.”

Fifteen-term Rep. Jerrold Nadler easily fought off two challengers, getting more than 60% of the vote in the 10th Congressional District, which includes the West Side of Manhattan and portions of Brooklyn including Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Midwood.

Not all long-serving New York Democratic incumbents fared as well as Clarke and Nadler.

Rep. Eliot Engel, who has been in Congress since 1989, apparently lost his 16th Congressional seat to Jamaal Bowman, a progressive who vowed not to accept corporate PAC or lobbyist money. Bowman won 61.8% of the vote to Engel’s 34.9%, with three other challengers garnering the remaining 3.3%.

Fourteen-term Rep. Carolyn Maloney is in a battle to hold onto her 12th District seat, which covers the East Side of Manhattan and western portions of Queens. Maloney leads challenger Suraj Patel by just 648 votes, or 1.6 percentage points. The race will come down to absentee ballots.

new york primary elections
Jamaal Bowman speaking Tuesday night, following his apparent victory over incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

In the 6th Congressional District in Central Queens, incumbent Rep. Grace Meng coasted to victory with more than 60% of the vote. The Jewish community had supported Meng, whose main challenger, Melquiades Gagarin, was seen as being anti-Israel.

In the 14th Congressional District, covering portions of Queens and the Bronx, incumbent democratic-socialist superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez easily fought off several challengers, winning 72.6 of the vote against multiple challengers. Her nearest opponent, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, got 19.5%.

In the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District – covering Staten Island and small portions of Brooklyn including Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge –  Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis won 70.4% of the vote over Joseph Caldarera. Malliotakis will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Max Rose in the general election. Rose did not have a primary challenger. Malliotakis, who vacated her Assembly seat to run for Congress, had challenged Mayor Bill de Blasio in the 2017 general election.

The 11th District is one of the most conservative in New York. Rose, running as a moderate Democrat in 2018, won the seat that had generally been in Republican hands for decades, as part of a mini-blue wave that put the House of Representatives back in Democratic hands.

Malliotakis and Rose exchanged sharp words following Tuesday’s election.

“Two years ago,” Malliotakis charged in a speech Tuesday night, reported by the New York Post, “[Rose] claimed to be a moderate Democrat who would act independently of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi … but once elected, he proved to be just another liberal Democrat voting with her over 95% of the time. Over those 18 months he joined with the left to help stall the America-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.”

“He voted to release convicts from federal prisons, to use our tax dollars to fund political campaigns … and, most importantly, he cast his vote with Jerry Nadler … Adam Schiff … and AOC to impeach our President Donald Trump.”

Rose responded Wednesday with a video statement, calling Malliotakis a “fraud.”

“We’re facing an unprecedented crisis as a result of COVID, but I haven’t stopped fighting for you on the front lines,” said Rose. “We built a COVID-only facility from scratch, brought the first drive-through testing site in New York City right to our district, and secured billions of dollars in funding and materials to beat the pandemic and save our economy. What was Nicole doing this entire time? I’ll tell you: She was sharing photoshopped pictures of herself delivering supplies. And what was she doing up in Albany? She was cutting half-a-billion dollars from our health-care providers. But that’s what Nicole has always been about. She’s a fraud who represents everything we hate about our politics.”

Rose’s campaign also released a new video ad Wednesday, portraying Malliotakis as a flip-flopper on issues such as sanctuary cities and support of Trump.

In the race for the 50th State Assembly District, which includes Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, incumbent Joe Lentol, supported by the Jewish community, garnered 57.7% of the vote to challenger Emily Gallagher’s 42.3%, a difference of 1,763 votes. However, the outcome may turn significantly when absentee ballots are counted, as a person familiar with the race told Hamodia that it is believed that Lentol’s supporters voted heavily on Primary Day, whereas Gallagher’s used absentee ballots. One Lentol supporter said they had been hoping for at least a 3,000-vote lead before absentee ballots were counted.

In the race for Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards won 37.3% of the vote, while his nearest opponent, Elizabeth Crowley, garnered 28.2%, a difference of more than 10,000 votes.

In a seven-candidate Democratic primary in the 17th Congressional district – which includes all of Rockland County and parts of Westchester County and is being vacated by the retiring Rep. Nita Lowey – Mondaire Jones cruised to victory with 40.4% of the votes. His closest opponent, Adam Schleifer, had 26.9%. Jones, a democratic-socialist who had the endorsement of Ocasio-Cortez, apparently benefited from the traditional Democratic candidates’ splitting the vote.

In a Republican primary for the 17th Congressional District, Maureen McArdle Schulman defeated Yehudis Gottesfeld, 74.4% to 22.7%.

In the 38th State Senate District – which covers Monsey and is currently held by David Carlucci, who vacated the seat in a failed bid for the 17th District Congressional seat – Justin Sweet won 47.1% of the votes in the Democratic primary, with the closest of his two opponents winning 29.9 percent. In the Republican primary, Bill Weber won 66.9 percent in his race against Matthew Weinberg, who at 23 years of age was seeking to become the youngest New York State legislator.

Weinberg told Hamodia in an interview earlier this month that some in his party leadership had opposed his candidacy. Following the apparent primary loss, Weinberg expressed an overall upbeat tone at having participated in the election, but displeasure with the party establishment. I’m happy both with the effort I put in and the results I got from my effort. I’m only 23 and I think for my race this was a decent showing,” he said. “But during this campaign, I was yet another casualty of the Rockland Republican establishment nepotism machine. When will the people of Rockland finally see how their representation is being compromised by these nefarious forces? Multiple residents from every part of the district have expressed their dismay and disappointment with the Rockland GOP. This is not the last that the residents of Rockland have heard from me.”



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