A Lot of Democrats Are Mad at Sean Patrick Maloney

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney has faced days of intense backlash after announcing earlier this week that he will run for reelection in a district currently represented by one of his colleagues, putting the DCCC chairman at odds with members of his own party ahead of the midterms.

Under New York’s new draft congressional map, released on Monday, Maloney’s home of Cold Spring would sit in the 17th District — not the 18th, which he currently represents. Shortly after the map came out, Maloney made clear that he would not be playing nice with the 17th District’s current incumbent, fellow Democrat Mondaire Jones.

“While the process to draw these maps without the legislature is against the will of voters, if the newly announced maps are finalized, I will run in New York’s 17th Congressional District. NY-17 includes my home and many of the Hudson Valley communities I currently represent,” Maloney said in a tweet.

Jones, who has represented the 17th District since last year, was not pleased, to say the least. “Sean Patrick Maloney did not even give me a heads up before he went on Twitter to make that announcement. And I think that tells you everything you need to know about Sean Patrick Maloney,” he told Politico.

The new maps place Jones in a similar predicament to Maloney’s. Under the draft map, his home of White Plains would now be considered part of the 16th District, which is currently represented by Jamaal Bowman, a fellow first-term Democratic representative. Jones hasn’t announced a decision on where he intends to run yet, but Bowman issued a statement of his own, saying that he and Jones “should not be pitted against each other all because Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to have a slightly easier district for himself.”

“Congressman Maloney should run in his own district. I’ll be running in mine,” Bowman said.

Several of Jones’s colleagues have sided with Jones over Maloney.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told NBC News that Maloney’s level of resources creates a “conflict of interest,” and that “if he’s going to enter in a primary and challenge another Democratic member, then he should step aside from his responsibilities of the DCCC.”

And Representative Ritchie Torres responded to reporting from Punchbowl News that Maloney allies have said the more progressive Jones would be better suited for a different district, calling it “thinly veiled racism.” (Other Black Democrats have complained that the new map carves up their districts in a way that dilutes the power of Black lawmakers in the state.)

Torres continued on Twitter, “There’s a simple solution here. Maloney should run in NY-18, which he mostly represents. Jones in NY-17, which he mostly represents Bowman in NY-16, which he mostly represents. Problem solved.”

In interviews with Politico, multiple lawmakers were critical of Maloney’s move on the grounds that it is inappropriate given his leadership position. New York representative Kathleen Rice, who is retiring, said, “You cannot have the chair of the DCCC involved in a Democratic primary with an incumbent colleague and expect that person to remain objective about their No. 1 job, which is incumbent protection,” she said.

But other colleagues were more equivocal, and Maloney still retains the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

After New York’s highest court tossed Democrats’ gerrymandered congressional map, a neutral “special master” drew a new one that has injected uncertainty and chaos into an already tough midterm cycle for Democrats. Several incumbents, along with Maloney, found their old districts moved, altered, or merged with their fellow lawmakers’. A finalized version of the map is expected Friday, and it’s still possible that the map could change once again.

A Lot of Democrats Are Mad at Sean Patrick Maloney