Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney admitted defeat in his reelection bid to the House Wednesday.
Maloney, a five-term incumbent, conceded to Republican candidate Mike Lawler Wednesday morning, having been trailing him in the polls by 6%, according to multiple reports. He was running in New York’s newly-drawn 17th Congressional District, covering Rockland County and parts of Westchester County, which includes many affluent suburbs, and is the congressional district of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Maloney’s status as DCCC Chair, placing him in charge of winning House elections for Democrats and a senior member of the party’s leadership, makes the loss a significant blow to the House Democratic Caucus.
Earlier in the year, Maloney had been expected to easily be reelected to his New York seat regardless of House Democrats’ prospects, with his district having a Cook Partisan Voting Index Score of D+8 in 2021.
The certainty of Maloney’s win was in question, however, after Cook rated the seat as a Toss Up, despite having a Cook PVI score of D+3 in 2022 and voting for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election by a margin of 10%.
Lawler’s gains occurred after New York’s congressional map was significantly changed, following a New York Court of Appeals decision in Harkenrider v. Hochul that struck down the Democratic state legislature-drawn congressional maps for engaging in “partisan gerrymandering,” per the opinion.
In Rockland and Westchester Counties, Maloney displaced fellow Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones, who represents the currently-drawn 17th District to run in the seat with new boundaries, despite more of its counties being represented by Jones rather than Maloney. Jones later ran in the 10th Congressional District primary, located well outside his home district, which he lost.
The race between Maloney and Lawler focused primarily on inflation and abortion, themes adopted by Republicans and Democrats nationally. Maloney sought to highlight Lawler’s pro-life position on abortion, arguing that it would hurt women’s rights, while Lawler claimed that Maloney’s support for Biden’s agenda led to higher inflation and a greater threat of crime.
Their polling gap resulted in Democratic allies of Maloney spending heavily to help him retain his seat. Not to be outdone, Republican groups, such as the Kevin McCarthy-affiliated Congressional Leadership Fund, invested millions of dollars in attack ads against Maloney.
Maloney’s loss comes as the Democrats faced very close elections in New York state. In the governor’s race, incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul bested Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin by a narrow margin in a state regarded among the most Democratic in the country.
Lawler’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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