Suraj Patel is officially running against two incumbent Democrats in New York’s newly created 12th Congressional District.
Patel’s decision to run could further complicate the primary between longtime Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler after a chaotic reshuffling of New York congressional districts.
“I am in this race because I believe voters deserve a clear choice: a choice between a combined 60-plus years of old-school politicians who are more interested in maintaining their own power than in fighting for the issues that matter versus a new generation of leadership focused on the future,” Patel told BuzzFeed News.
In his announcement video, Patel blames “career politicians” for losing ground in the race to keep the majority in Congress after Democrats presented incumbent-favored maps.
Patel came within four points of defeating Maloney in 2020 — an improvement from his 2018 primary challenge against the Congress member. He now faces Maloney for the third time alongside Nadler after a state judge approved a redrawn version of a congressional map submitted by Democrats in March.
The district previously spanned three boroughs, including parts of Brooklyn and Queens. The New York Times reported Maloney was looking to get rid of sections of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and possibly Astoria, Queens, as early as last September. The new map did just that but also combined the Upper East and Upper West sides of Manhattan which have been represented by Maloney and Nadler, two high-ranking House Democrats, since they began serving their respective districts after winning elections in 1992. Patel’s home was cut out of the district in the initial map Democrats proposed and later readded by the special master assigned to redraw the state’s congressional maps.
Maloney and Nadler announced their candidacies before the maps were made official.
“Too often qualified and accomplished women have been told to stand aside for the sake of men’s egos,” Maloney said in a statement confirming she’d run for reelection in the new district. “I’m not scared of a fight. I’m ready to go above and beyond to earn the votes of the new NY-12.”
Nadler announced his candidacy for the district shortly after and declared that the district “belongs to no individual candidate.”
The contentious race represents just a portion of a new map that’s upended political lines throughout the state. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a top-ranking Democrat, has to split parts of his district with Rep. Yvette Clarke. The newly drawn 10th District will be the battleground of several former and current lawmakers, including former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Mondaire Jones, and state Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, who’ve all announced they’re running in the district that now includes Manhattan’s Chinatown and Sunset Park in Brooklyn.