The infighting among New York Democrats on Capitol Hill is breaking out into public view, after a draft congressional map sent lawmakers scrambling, gearing up for potential election battles against each other.
Much of the drama surrounds the Hudson Valley, where Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who oversees this year’s re-election efforts by House Democrats, quickly announced he will run in the draft 17th District because it is where his home is.
“From my point of view, I’m just running where I landed,” he told reporters Tuesday.
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.— Sean Patrick Maloney (@spmaloney) May 16, 2022
But the announcement came as a surprise to Rep. Mondaire Jones, a freshman Democrat who currently represents a sizable portion of that new district.
He told Politico that Maloney did not even give him a heads up.
“I think that tells you everything you need [to] know about Sean Patrick Maloney,” Jones was quoted as saying.
If the map holds, Jones could be faced with running against Maloney, or running in the neighboring district against a fellow Black freshman Democrat: Rep. Jamaal Bowman.
In a statement, Bowman slammed Maloney, writing in part that “two Black men who worked hard to represent their communities … should not be pitted against each other all because Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to have a slightly easier district for himself.”
Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is trying to downplay the bitterness, saying it will get worked out among friends.
“I’ve encouraged everyone to make sure we keep the focus right now on addressing the egregious and unconstitutional draft map that was prepared by this out-of-town, unelected special master, and correct that situation,” he said Thursday.
If Maloney ends up in a primary against a fellow incumbent Democrat, can he still fairly run the Democrats’ campaign efforts as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee?
Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told NBC News Thursday he should step aside from his role if that is the case.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, has offered praise for Maloney, saying she’s proud of the work he’s done chairing the DCCC.
Democrats have made a last-minute bid to see the congressional map changed.
The DCCC sent a letter to the judge overseeing redistricting in New York, pleading with him to rethink the draft map released this week.
In the letter, they argue the plan, as it stands, splits up communities and could reduce the number of Black of lawmakers in the New York delegation by shoehorning them into election contests against one another.