After blowout victory, Jerry Nadler to return to Congress with humility and a mandate from Manhattanites

In contrast to the sharp tenor of the race in its final weeks, Congress Member Jerry Nadler showed humility while celebrating his landslide win in the all-Manhattan 12th District race, praising Carolyn Maloney, his House ally and colleague of more than 30 years, and insurgent candidate Suraj Patel.

“I’m so proud of tonight’s victory and I’m thrilled that we were able to win while remaining committed to our principles of kindness and progressivism,” Nadler said in his victory speech.

With 99% of scanners counted, Nadler held a 30-point lead over Maloney, according to the New York City Board of Elections. Patel came in third, five points behind Maloney.

After a convoluted redistricting process put Maloney and Nadler in the very same district, the two stalwart Manhattan incumbents engaged in a contest that grew especially acrimonious in the final weeks. 

Maloney, who started off the race polling at the top in a May Emerson poll, became a target for Patel in a series of feisty debate performances, and made headlines with a blunt statement that she didn’t believe President Biden was running for re-election, which became seen as a gaffe. In the campaign’s final days, Maloney called Nadler “senile” on NY1.

Nadler’s lead prompted the race to be one of the first contests of the night to be called. Supporters, ranging from the fresh-faced volunteers to wheelchair-bound seniors at the West Side election party venue, Cafe Arte, burst into applause as TV chyron announced Nadler’s projected win.

In his victory speech, Nadler said that he would return to Congress with a mandate to fight for a list of rights that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority had recently overruled.

“New Yorkers will stand up and fight for unpacking our Supreme Court. We’re going to end the scourge of gun violence in America because we’re going to stand up and fight. We’re going to restore abortion access across our entire nation,” Nadler said.

After thanking his campaign staff and his family, Nadler lumbered around the restaurant with a restrained smile, greeting government colleagues and supporters with his wife.

Congress Member Nadler enjoys a victory embrace.Photo by Max Parrott

Asked how he felt, he said, “You win a landslide victory, of course you feel great!”

He was joined by a group of left-liberal Democrats, including City Comptroller Brad Lander, former City Councilmember and mayoral candidates Ruth Messinger, Councilmember Eric Bottcher and state Senator Brad Hoylman.

“At one level, there’s like an east side versus west side dynamic. On the other hand, there’s like a ‘Let’s leave American democracy dynamic,’ which is much bigger,” said Lander of his support for Nadler over Maloney..

Bottcher, whose district overlaps with Nadler’s and who had previously worked in the Council under former Speaker Corey Johnson, cited his involvement in local projects as his reason for endorsing the Congressman. Nadler had help secure funding for district NYCHA developments and the Stonewall Inn and adjacent park to into a National Monument, he said.

“That wouldn’t have happened without Jerry Nadler.”

Though Nadler was gracious, Maloney’s attacks in the last stretch had rankled some of his supporters. Former City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who was at the election party, found himself entangled in a rumor that Nadler planned to step down and boost Stringer for the seat. Nadler has since stated his intention to run again in 2024.

“[Nadler] got what he deserved. They rejected the politics of and hate and smear. They came after Jerry, and they came after me,” Stringer said.

Nadler, however, did not acknowledge the discord in speech. Instead, he ended it by addressing the overwhelming challenges facing the country.

“I know that when confronted with fights, as massive as those that lie before us, it can feel impossible to do anything but surrender. But here is the thing. I’m a New Yorker,” Nadler said. “And we New Yorkers just don’t know how to surrender.”