Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, conceded defeat Wednesday, a humiliating loss for Democrats and the chair of the party’s campaign arm.
He was ousted by GOP state lawmaker Mike Lawler, who attacked the five-term congressman over crime and inflation.
“Mike is the first candidate to defeat a DCCC Chair since 1980 because he kept the Hudson Valley at the center of his campaign,” Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republcian Congressional Committee, said in a statement. “The voters of Putnam, Westchester, and Rockland resoundingly rejected Sean Patrick Maloney’s pro-criminal policies.”
Maloney did not remain in New York’s 17th District to watch his own demise, despite his campaign schedule including the Rockland County Democrats watch party.
After voting in New York, Maloney returned to Washington on Tuesday afternoon “to oversee national results,” according to a spokesperson for the DCCC.
The district leans blue and went for President Joe Biden in 2020 by 10 points. But it was mostly new territory for Maloney, who pivoted to run for the new seat after New York’s bungled redistricting process prevented final lines from being released until this May.
Lawler, a Rockland County native, also represents only a fraction of it in his current role, but has consistently polled with tight margins against Maloney.
His key platforms of combating crime and tackling inflation mirror those of the party, but resonated especially well in the new 17th District — which includes part of Westchester County, along with more exurban counties like Putnam and Rockland. It encompasses several diverse communities, including a large and politically active Orthodox Jewish voting bloc. The area also has a large proportion of households with first responders, law enforcement or military members.
Maloney’s perilous position pulled millions in outside spending from both Democrats and Republicans in the final weeks of the race. He’s riled his colleagues multiple times this election cycle, and the race has raised questions from his peers about electing swing-seat DCCC leaders.
He sought to paint Lawler as a Trump-aligned extremist with the nickname MAGA Mike and pointing to his anti-abortion rights views. He also stressed how Lawler also refused to condemn a CLF mailer as racist during a handful of NAACP forums.