Assorted Ideas

Suraj Patel’s Strong Challenge in NY-12

Suraj Patel’s challenge for Congress in NY-12 surged last quarter. Patel “out-raised incumbent Democrat Carolyn B. Maloney and has more cash on hand,” his campaign said.

Reporting by David Stone

When I met with Suraj Patel, last summer, it was a lot like the first time I met Carolyn Maloney.

Related: Suraj Patel Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Informal. Low key. Impressive.

During her first run for Congress, Maloney set up camp on a Roosevelt Island Red Bus as it circled, greeting voters. The buses were humble and so was Maloney.

Maloney’s well-liked. To many of us, she’s just “Carolyn.”

Carolyn Maloney signs petition to save a cat sanctuary
In June, 2018, on Roosevelt Island Day, Carolyn Maloney paused to sign a petition to save a local cat sanctuary.

Keep up with what’s happening: Roosevelt Island News

Meeting Suraj Patel

When he first ran against Maloney in 2018, I met Patel formally as he made a campaign visit. Patel’s challenge for NY-12, that year, fell short.

But unknown to many, he got more votes than any New York primary challenger, including AOC. His draw was strongest in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but not enough to overcome Maloney’s strength in her Upper East Side base.

Then, last summer, Patel reached me via email. Another campaign was on his mind, and he wanted my thoughts.

Flattering though that was, we talked about a possible challenge for NY-12 in an over-the-counter pizzeria behind the subway station.

Patel shares with Carolyn a personal easiness. We aren’t friends, but an observer wouldn’t guess that. We chatted, sipped soft drinks and lunched on finger food.

“Yes,” I said. “Run.”

The Problem with Carolyn

Maloney shows up. Whether it’s Roosevelt Island Day or a Cherry Blossom Festival, she’s there and instantly accessible.

But ask yourself what our NY-12 congressional rep’s done for us lately… Anything? No, I didn’t think so.

The last win for Roosevelt Island she can claim is half-a-million for building FDR Four Freedoms Park.

Yes, that long ago.

In the meantime, she outraged some locals by normalizing Trump, attending his inauguration while other representatives did not. Previous campaigns got cash donations from Trump, and although he’s bragged that every contribution comes with obligations, Maloney refuses to return money she got from him.

More significantly, as we reported in 2018, “Until backing away last year, Maloney supported the debunked claims of anti-vac advocates who say that vaccinations cause autism. It was a widely discredited view she shared with Trump.”

Even without Suraj Patel’s strong challenge in NY-12, these things make voting for Maloney difficult.

During his 2018 campaign, Patel listened to the concerns of Roosevelt Island legend Roy Eaton.

Which Brings Us To Suraj Patel’s Challenge

In 2018, we encouraged our neighbors to vote for Patel, not only because of problems with Maloney, but because his fresh, intense focus promised the kind of necessary change AOC delivered after her election.

That has not changed, and his impressive fund-raising tells us we’re not alone.

“Patel raised over $370,000 from individuals last quarter whereas Maloney raised over $100,000 from corporate PACs. Patel, who does not accept corporate PAC contributions, has $345,000 cash on hand.”

Cassie Moreno
Patel Campaign Communications Director

For substance, Patel recently posted his Family Opportunity Guarantee proposal. It includes five specific points…

  1. Paid Family and Medical Leave
  2. Medicare for Kids 
  3. Public Option for Child Care 
  4. Nationwide Pre-K
  5. Universal Child Dividend 

Conclusion: Suraj Patel’s Challenge in NY-12

Patel’s second campaign starts out with significant fund-raising and policies geared to impact families. Simply running against an incumbent isn’t enough.

You must have vision. Patel does, and while she might have in the beginning, there’s little evidence Maloney does today.

We need fixers in Washington.

Suraj Patel promises to become one.

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2 replies »

  1. Suraj Patel bragged to a NY Times reporter about his dishonest Tinderbanking strategy in 2018. Seemed oblivious to an ethical breach which was obvious to nearly everyone else.
    Brazen opportunist. Registered to vote all over the place.

    • You’re misrepresenting what Patel told the Times. Tinder Banking was a strategy to use the platform to reach a target audience through the app. There was no dishonesty involved, although it was intrusive. He always identified himself and his intention. As for “an ethical breach which was obvious to nearly everyone else,” “everyone else” amounted to exactly four people, and even with that exposure in the widely read Times, Patel ran strongly against an entrenched incumbent with startling issues of her own. Maloney’s appalling leadership in the anti-vaccine movement has never been apologized for and only retracted when challenged in the last election cycle. Candidates aren’t perfect, but I’ll take Tinder Banking, a relatively harmless intrusion, over the life and death perils of championing a dangerous debunked conspiracy theory any day.

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