A possible, even likely winner, if all votes counted, Suraj Patel concedes in the contest to unseat Carolyn Maloney. But the fight goes on.
By David Stone
“Politics may be the least inspiring thing about this City. That’s not for a lack of leaders, it’s for a lack of leadership.” Suraj Patel, opening concession statement.
A Possible Winner, Suraj Patel Concedes to Carolyn Maloney
“I’ve always said that this fight is bigger than one candidate or one race, and that’s why it’s time to focus on ensuring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris defeat Donald Trump,” Patel said.
An early decision…
Last summer, Suraj Patel asked what I thought about his taking another shot at unseating Carolyn Maloney in the 12th New York Congressional District. He came within 5% of winning in 2018, as a newcomer, getting even more votes that AOC.
The progressive tide felt strong, but by the time primaries approached in 2020, it got stronger.
We talked over pizza and soda. Suraj is a guy with whom you feel instantly at ease.
For me, the choice was simple. Given Maloney’s horrifying, unresolved history as an anti-vaxxer and her normalizing of Trump, I thought she needed to go.
After 28 years in Congress, Maloney fell behind the times, propped up wealthy Upper East Side donors, out of touch with folks on the streets. And there were the intangibles, Patel’s energy, passion and intelligence outdistancing the incumbent.
COVID-19 and a mangled primary…
When the coronavirus hit New York hard, forcing Governor Cuomo into executive actions covering primary voting, mistakes occurred. Big ones.
Everyone got absentee ballots, but many of them came in too late for voters to mail them in on time. And the USPS mishandled thousands of others.
In in-person voting, Maloney won only 41.3 percent of the votes against three challengers. Patel came in second, and he was behind by only a small margin.
But the bulk of uncounted absentee votes were from Patel strongholds in Brooklyn and Queens.
Patel fought for voters disenfranchised, through no fault of their own, and nearly a thousand rejected voters got a voice. The tally of newly counted votes: Patel 44%/Maloney 19%.
The revised tally reduced her votes to only 40.3% of the total, and it was even clearer that voters wanted a change. In our opinion, she should have faced the music and withdrew, but Maloney opted to keep her job, in spite of voter preferences.
Suraj Patel concedes… reluctantly.
“Given those percentages,” Patel said, “and with over 11,000 votes that remain invalidated in our race, it’s possible, even likely, the results would be different if all those votes were counted and if all voters actually received their ballots in the first place.”
But it was not to be.
Pitching in to help his former boss Joe Biden, along with Kamala Harris, drive Trump out of the White House beckons, and Patel answered.
“But our post-election work was not in vain: our calls to strengthen vote by mail systems drew national attention and national change. Just this week, Governor Cuomo took significant steps to correct what went wrong in our race for November and for that we are grateful,” Patel said.
A final notice to Maloney as Suraj Patel concedes and moves on…
“Lastly, change came to NY-12 this summer, as we said it would. I’m incredibly proud of the multigenerational, multiethnic coalition we built spanning boroughs and diverse neighborhoods. The 28-year incumbent in our race received just 40.3% of the vote– a resounding rejection of her consistent funding by corporate PAC money and a record showing a profound lack of judgment on issues such as science, institutional racism, and now Democracy reform. New Yorkers deserve better and they voted for it – whether those votes were counted or not.”