The Justice Democrats will back a progressive challenger to New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the powerful chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, The New York Times reports.
Justice Democrats, who backed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her upset victory over top Democrat Joe Crowley and repeated their success backing Rep. Jamaal Bowman in his upset over longtime Rep. Eliot Engel, are backing Rana Abdelhamid in the Democratic primary.
Abdelhamid, 27, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and community organizer focused on housing access and equity.
Abdelhamid officially launched her bid on Wednesday against Maloney, who has represented her district since 1992.
The district includes some of the wealthiest parts of Manhattan as well as more progressive and racially diverse areas in Queens and Brooklyn.
Justice Dems hope to build on AOC’s success:
“We strongly believe in Rana’s leadership capabilities to build a coalition like we’ve been able to in some of our previous elections,” Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of Justice Democrats, told the Times.
Abdelhamid is the daughter of Egyptian immigrants and a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School who worked at Google.
She also founded a nonprofit offering self-defense training to women after a man tried to pull her hijab off when she was a teenager.
“Congresswoman Maloney has been in office for 28 years, for longer than I’ve been alive,” she told the Times. “Under her leadership, rent has only skyrocketed, our public schools have only gotten more segregated and more underfunded.”
“The progressive case against Carolyn Maloney,” she added, “is that Carolyn Maloney is not a progressive.”
Maloney pushes back:
Maloney describes herself as a “progressive national leader” and prides herself on funding she has been able to secure for her constituents during her three decades in office.
“Carolyn is committed to running again regardless of who’s running against her, and she will wage an aggressive campaign as she always does,” Jim Duffy, a partner at Putnam Partners, which works with Maloney’s campaign, told the Times. “She’s never lost a race before. She doesn’t intend to lose this one.”
“She’s an extremely hard worker, she delivers for her district, she works very hard on individual cases,” added political consultant George Arzt. “Everyone in her district knows her.”