Follow the money: Maloney has the most cash on hand in District 12 race

After the release of New York’s new Congressional maps unleashed an outburst of discord in a newly drawn District 12, a new dynamic has emerged between two political titans and a persistent insurgent candidate who are all vying for the Democratic nomination.

The newly drawn district stretches over all of Manhattan from Union Square to the northern end of Central Park and has pit veteran Congress Members Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney against each other.

After the two incumbents respectively made up their minds to compete for the 12th District and subsequently slugged it out in the press, attorney, activist and two-time Maloney challenger Suraj Patel, made it clear that he too would be staying in the race. Patel’s campaign, which began against Maloney in February, will hinge on his two opponents splitting the vote between their respective bases.

While Patel was prepared to fight against a well-funded incumbent, he still has some ground to make up. But so does Nadler, according to the most fundraising records from the Federal Election commission as of the end of March. Maloney raised over $2 million since the beginning of 2021 in preparation for a challenge from both Patel and progressive activist Rana Abdelhamid, who ended her bid following the release of the new maps.

At the last filing at the end of March, she had $1.1 million on hand, in comparison with Nadler’s near $850,000 reserves and the almost $545,000 in Patel’s account. The next FEC fundraising deadline won’t come until July. 

But with an influx of campaign cash comes scrutiny. One of Patel’s recent endorsers, Steven Donziger, an environmental lawyer whose legal battle against Chevron turned him into an influential leftwing figure, criticized both Maloney and Nadler in a story by the Intercept as “some of the biggest recipients of corporate PAC dollars in the country.”

The FEC filings do illustrate the difference in fundraising between Patel and his two opponents. Maloney raised over $800,000 from committee contributions in 2021 and 2022. Some of the more recent donations filed in 2022 include money from real estate and automotive company PACs like $2,500 from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts PAC, $5,000 from General Motors, $2,000 from Real Estate Roundtable PAC and $1,000 from the Commercial Real Estate Financial Council.

Nadler also raised over $200,000 from committee contributions in 2021 and 2022. Recent donations included some money from corporate committees like $2,000 from Comcast and NBC Universal PAC, $1,500 from Sony Music and $2,500 from Dell Tech. 

A spokesperson for Nadler responded that the Congressman “has a record that speaks loudly for itself. With a long, consistent history of opposing outsized corporate power, fighting against the corruption that too often permeates our government, and advancing legislation that speaks to the needs of his local constituents, Jerry’s priorities have always centered around building a more equitable, just America.”

Maloney responded that she was proud of her fundraising so far. 

“My campaign is funded by donors all across New York’s 12th Congressional District and I am grateful to my donors and supporters who believe in this campaign- some of whom have even been with me since the very beginning when I successfully beat Bill Green,” she said in a statement. 

Patel, who has only received a mere $5,000 in committee donations from the Indian American Impact Fund, is making a bid for the district’s progressive flank. Although, the favoritism among advocates and unions is not so one-sided. 

The Working Families Party, for instance, endorsed Nadler last week, citing his advocacy for “reforming the Supreme Court [and] reimagining our justice system” in his capacity as chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.

Both Maloney and Nadler have both claimed the mantle as progressive and have begun to highlight records of progressive accomplishments from their decades in Congress.

In recent years, Maloney, who also chairs the influential House Oversight Committee, has made efforts to position herself further left, coming out in support of ideas such as Medicare for All and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.