Rep. Jerrold Nadler Defeats Rep. Carolyn Maloney in Unusual N.Y. Primary That Turned Allies into Opponents

The prominent House Democrats were forced to set aside alliances and fight for their political futures when census-mandated redistricting pitted them against one another at the last second

Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney
Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty; Kevin Dietsch/Getty

In a high-stakes race between two popular incumbent Democrats, Rep. Jerrold Nadler won a primary election in New York on Tuesday, defeating Rep. Carolyn Maloney in a match-up that only happened because of redistricting.

The Associated Press called the race at 9:38 p.m. ET. According to The New York Times, out of a reported 75,675 votes, Nadler received 42,326 with Maloney taking in 18,229 and Suraj Patel receiving 14,354.

Nadler, 75, and Maloney, 76, are both senior Democrats who lead powerful committees. Nadler, who's served in the House since 1992, chairs the Judiciary Committee while Maloney, who's served in the House since 1993, chairs the House Oversight Committee.

In a statement shared via Twitter, Maloney thanked her supporters and said she has since reached out to Nadler to congratulate him on the win.

"Jerry is a distinguished member of congress. I share his progressive values. I wish him every success," she added in part.

She went on thank her "two amazing daughters" before briefly paying tribute to her late husband Clifton Maloney, who died in 2009.

Maloney continued and saluted her staff, stating, "The long battles we fought together led to improbable election victories and the opportunity to serve and help countless people, here and around the world."

"I am proud to have followed in the footsteps and stand on the shoulders of the strong New York women who opened doors and took on the tough battles – Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm and Gerry Ferraro, to name just a few," she wrote. "These heroic women fought sexist systems and misogyny that continues today as we know from my own campaign."

Ending with a final note, Maloney tweeted, "Together, we must move forward and build on their legacies, continue to open doors, end all forms of discrimination and smash glass ceilings. We must continue to be unbought and unbossed, a Shirley Chisholm campaign slogan and remind people again – a Woman's Place is in the House – the House of Representatives, as coined by Bella."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer.

New lines were drawn by a court-appointed third party and later approved by a judge to create New York's 12th Congressional District, which now covers the middle section of Manhattan, including the Upper East Side (currently represented by Maloney) and the Upper West Side (which Nadler represents).

An election in the newly formed district pitted two colleagues and former friends against each other.

"He said, 'Step aside, I'm running.' And I said, 'Well, I'm running too. I'm not leaving,'" Maloney told New York magazine in a story about their race. "He said, 'I'm gonna win.' I said, 'I'm gonna win.' We haven't spoken since."

"She has been wrong on very major issues," Nadler said in the same article, citing her votes in favor of the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. "The Iraq vote showed poor judgment. She believed the Bush administration, and I thought the Bush-administration evidence was just not there. The Patriot Act, that was a cowardly vote … it was cowardly on Carolyn's part."

Earier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the most powerful New Yorker in Washington, endorsed Nadler in the race.

"New York has a lot of outstanding leaders, but few of them lead with the courage, conviction and brilliant legislative effectiveness of my friend, Jerry Nadler," Schumer told The New York Times. "I've watched as time after time, Jerry — a critical partner of mine in the House — was right on the issues years before so many others."

"There is an old boys' network that sticks together and they do not let women in," Maloney told NY1 in an interview after Schumer endorsed her opponent. "I was friends with a lot of males that I worked with on the West Side and now they won't even talk with me. They're all with Jerry, just like glue."

Maloney — who emphasized her female perspective at a time when women's rights are under attack — earned the backing of feminist icon Gloria Steinem, a notable Upper East Side resident, to prove her point.

Related Articles