early and often

The 4 Big Races to Watch in New York

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

August in New York has historically never been a time to hold an election of any kind. Vacation season doesn’t peter out until Labor Day, and the more well heeled among us have fled to the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, or anywhere else that offers a beach or just a touch of cool shade. Thanks to the redistricting chaos of the late spring after New York lost a seat in Congress, the state not only had split primary dates but different dates for the two chambers of the State Legislature. In June, the statewide candidates, including the governor, ran on the same day as candidates for the State Assembly and other lower-levels offices including judge.

Today, there are only two offices on the ballot: State Senate and Congress. Within New York City and the surrounding suburbs, there’s plenty of drama and a lot at stake. If you’re a registered Democrat and live in these districts, you will have big decisions to make. Here are four major House races to watch in New York today.

NY-10: Progressives versus the prosecutor.

There are at least six viable Democrats running in a district that spans lower Manhattan, brownstone Brooklyn, Sunset Park, and Borough Park. For a second, Bill de Blasio himself was running, but he dropped out in July. Dan Goldman, the former federal prosecutor who went on to work on the first impeachment of Donald Trump, leads in polling and spending thanks in part to his own fortune — he’s a Levi Strauss heir who has pumped at least $4 million of his own cash into the race.

A relative moderate who wants to join Mayor Eric Adams’s fight to weaken the state’s bail-reform laws, Goldman is opposed on his left by Mondaire Jones, a progressive U.S. representative who moved from White Plains to Carroll Gardens to run in the primary, and Yuh-Line Niou, a Manhattan assemblywoman backed by the Working Families Party. Carlina Rivera, a Manhattan city councilwoman, is attempting to thread the needle between progressives and moderates, running with the support of 1199 SEIU — the largest union in the state, which represents health-care workers — and Nydia Velázquez, the popular U.S. representative in a neighboring district. She is more pro-real-estate-development than Niou.

Rounding out the field are Elizabeth Holtzman — the former U.S. representative, DA, and city comptroller who first rose to fame in the 1970s working on the impeachment of Richard Nixon — and Jo Anne Simon, a veteran assemblywoman from Brooklyn. The race is Goldman’s to lose.

NY-12: Clash of the Manhattan titans.

Carolyn Maloney versus Jerry Nadler — one of these long-serving veterans and committee chairs will be forced into retirement come January. Political allies who have been in Congress together since 1993, Nadler and Maloney were compelled to run together after a court-appointed special master drew a compact Manhattan district that united the city’s East and West Sides. The race, naturally, has turned bitter, with Maloney questioning Nadler’s cognitive abilities and Nadler lashing Maloney for her past votes for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. Maloney has also faced criticism from a third candidate, Suraj Patel, over her history of questioning the safety of vaccines. In the final days of the race, Nadler took a strong polling lead and secured the endorsements of both Chuck Schumer and the New York Times editorial board. With his liberal voting record and enthusiastic support on the Upper West Side, Nadler is expected to hold on for the victory and get at least one more term in Washington, D.C.

NY-17: Mr. Moderate versus the left’s young hope.

Voters in this suburban district — taking in Rockland, Ulster, and Westchester Counties — will have a competitive Democratic primary today and another contested election in November. Unlike the other two major primaries, the Democratic seat is in danger of flipping to a Republican. Sean Patrick Maloney, the incumbent and head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is the formidable front-runner, having heavily outspent his progressive rival, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. Maloney has drawn the ire of the left for his more moderate voting record, his embrace of a police-union super-PAC, and his willingness to bigfoot Jones, a well-regarded progressive, out of the suburbs altogether. Democrats of all stripes seem to be angry at Maloney for authorizing spending that helped elevate a far-right Republican candidate in Michigan over Peter Meijer, one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, in the hopes that candidate will be more vulnerable to a Democratic challenger in the fall.

Biaggi is campaigning as an unabashed progressive, running with the support of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Working Families Party. She has criticized Maloney for taking corporate money and promised generational change. Whether she can get past him today and convince enough voters she’s the best candidate to face Mike Lawler, a Republican assemblyman, in the general election is an open question. Maloney’s pitch as a battle-tested general-election candidate, combined with his potent fundraising, may resonate in the district.

NY-18: The battle of Dobbs.

Pat Ryan, the Democratic Ulster County executive, is pitted against Marc Molinaro, the Republican Dutchess County executive, in a Hudson Valley special election that will be one test of how far a Democratic candidacy centered on abortion rights can go in a swing district after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. The two are competing to fill the seat Democrat Antonio Delgado vacated to become lieutenant governor. Ryan, in theory, will have the wind at his back, but this will be a tough race for him to win. Molinaro, who once ran for governor, is something of a Trump-skeptical Republican. His centrism will make it hard for Ryan to paint him as a member of the MAGA fringe. The catch here is that today’s election is for the old 19th District, and another one will be held in November under the redrawn lines, which are more Republican friendly. Ryan could go to Congress now, and Molinaro, come January, could be the 19th’s next representative. (To make matters more confusing, Ryan will be seeking a full term in the new 18th District, which Sean Patrick Maloney vacated. Molinaro will also be on the ballot for the new 19th.)

The 4 Big Races to Watch in New York