Ex-Obama campaign staffer mounts second primary challenge to Rep. Carolyn Maloney
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A former campaign staffer for Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he will mount a second primary challenge to long-serving New York Democratic congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in 2020.
Suraj Patel, a 35-year-old attorney and business ethics professor at New York University, unveiled his bid to represent New York's 12th Congressional District with a focus on progressive ideals such as the Green New Deal, affordable housing, "Medicare-for-all," ending mass incarceration and legalizing marijuana.
Patel, who received 40 percent of the vote when he ran against Maloney in 2018, released a campaign video in three different languages in which he promised to tackle New York City's woes, including the deteriorating subway system and homelessness.
“When I was 5 years old, I can remember my dad coming home after working the night shift fixing these tracks,” Patel says in the opening of the ad. “And he jokes to me, ‘They’re pretty much in the same condition.’”
Maloney was first elected to Congress in 1992. She has represented the 12th District, which covers parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as well as Roosevelt Island, since 2013 following a redistricting.
"Simply holding a job doesn't entitle you to keep it," Patel says in the ad. "You've got to deliver."
Patel is the fourth candidate to announce a 2020 primary bid against Maloney. The other candidates include stand-up comedian Lauren Ashcraft, attorney Erica Vladimer, and housing advocate Peter Harrison.
Unseating Maloney would bear a striking resemblance to the upset primary victory pulled off by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated ten-term incumbent Joe Crowley in June 2018.