Sean Patrick Maloney Repels Challenge to Win Bitterly Fought Primary
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, won his primary contest on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, defeating Alessandra Biaggi, a state senator who challenged him from the left.
The race for the newly redrawn 17th District of New York was a high-drama, divisive affair that drew involvement from an array of national figures. Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Bill Clinton backed Mr. Maloney, while Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and a number of progressive organizations supported the state senator.
Ms. Biaggi, a granddaughter of the late congressman Mario Biaggi, rose to prominence in New York politics in 2018 after defeating a powerful incumbent. She became a leader of the state’s left wing and ran an energetic campaign for the 17th District in the northern exurbs of New York City. Ms. Biaggi argued that the party’s leadership had been too timid in the face of urgent threats to the country — especially the overturning of Roe v. Wade — and positioned herself as a fighter, deriding her opponent as a “selfish corporate Democrat.”
But she had just three months to introduce herself to voters in the newly configured district, where she only recently moved (though she grew up in the area), and Mr. Maloney, who is well-known in the Hudson Valley area, had huge institutional advantages, especially on the fund-raising front and through his extensive labor support.
Mr. Maloney, for his part, cast himself as a pragmatic politician who understood the needs of the region intimately and had a record of delivering for the area. He campaigned on recent Democratic legislative victories and suggested that Ms. Biaggi was too far to the left for the district on issues like public safety.
“If you look around the country, I think what’s clear is that the common-sense wing of the Democratic Party that is focused on working with people to get things done is on the rise, and the socialist wing is on the decline, and it’s about time,” Mr. Maloney said in an interview last week. (Ms. Biaggi does not identify as a democratic socialist.)
A number of Mr. Maloney’s supporters argued that Ms. Biaggi’s past criticism of the police could become a liability in November. And some of her past remarks were used against her as outside money poured in against Ms. Biaggi from groups including the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which endorsed former President Donald J. Trump in 2020.
The race was set in motion after a messy redistricting process that split Mr. Maloney’s current district in two. Instead of running for a reconfigured version of his seat, Mr. Maloney chose to contest a slightly more Democratic-leaning district now held by Representative Mondaire Jones.
Though Mr. Maloney noted that his Cold Spring home was within the lines of the district — which under new boundaries includes parts of Westchester County and the Hudson Valley — the move infuriated colleagues, who denounced it as a power grab from the man tasked with protecting the Democratic House majority.
Mr. Maloney has said he could have handled the process better, even as he strongly defended his tenure as chair of the House Democratic campaign arm.
“I understand people have concerns about it,” he said. “I’ve heard that, and I’m accountable for that.”
He now heads into what is expected to be a competitive general election.