We don’t like to discuss politics too much here at LICtalk, and yet we do. By ‘do’ I mean we both talk politics, and occasionally even enjoy it. Capisce?
Anyway, a local race here in Long Island City could shape up to be an interesting battle. And I’m not talking about some trivial elected official like the Dutch Kills Dog-Catcher or the City Assemblyman representing the Eastern District of Court Square. Nope, it’s actually the Democratic Primary for our local U.S. Congressman, a race which we happen to share with a large swath of Manhattan. Actually I should have said Congresswoman as the seat is currently held by Carolyn Maloney.
As in the previous two Democratic primaries for this seat, which occur every two years, Maloney is facing a challenger. And as can be expected in the latter half of the second decade of the 21st Century in a Democratic primary for anything, that challenger has been to the left of Maloney, and as can be expected in the City of New York ex-Staten Island, that challenger has been to the far-left of Carolyn Maloney. And as could be expected by all the aforementioned descriptors as well as a well-financed incumbent with any head on their shoulders and a passel of campaign advisers, Maloney has also moved to the left to seemingly capture the middle of a supposedly re-aligned standard distribution curve under which the most voters in a primary congregate. Capisce?!?
That far-left challenger, Suraj Patel, is back for a 3rd go-round, and as could be expected in the aforementioned descriptors plus a neighborhood that seems to sprout political upstarts running for every elected position, there are numerous other far-left challengers each trying to outdo each other in their what’s-yours-is-mine policy initiatives making it hard for me to discern any nuance. Which is a good thing for Maloney as it fragments any united challenge from the far-left. Better yet, in the latest re-districting for this seat, the hand-of-fate (ahem) culled some of the Astoria portion of her district, which has a strong far-left predilection (at least in Democratic primaries), and added a block-long strip that runs along Central Park West, where apartments are quoted in 8-figures instead of the standard 7 for NYC at large.
Leaving a large opening for anyone just to the right of the newly aligned center. A void which is too tempting for any wannabe newbie politician to fill, which is exactly what a candidate in that primary by the name of Maud Maron has done. Worse for Maloney, there is also a hot topic issue to exploit that is dividing Democrats in NYC (and Undecided’s just past city limits). That topic is schools, and in NYC it is the equivalent of a pocket-book issue, and in NYC it basically comes down to the question of whether better schools should continue to use the current admission criteria or new ones that would allow those less fortunate a better chance to attend them.
For now I won’t dwell on the nuances and solutions behind each education contingent, this post is about the interesting horse race to come. In handicapping that race, my first thought is that I don’t really have anything bad to say about Carolyn Maloney – which from my caustic perspective is a pretty good thing for a politician. She came to NYC from North Carolina at the age of 24 and twenty years later she beat a long term Republican male incumbent at a time when there were only 32 females in Congress, there are now 145.
Of course that initial win took place three decades ago and I am guessing, rightly or wrongly, that as this race gets heated Carolyn Maloney is going to get beat up over that from both sides. The question is can she rise above it? The answer will probably come from whatever position she takes on schools. As a non-paid strategist whose value is worth exactly that, my recommendation given the pincer movement described above, would be to get out ahead of the schools topic with a clearly defined position, whatever it is. What say ye Carolyn Maloney?
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