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Suraj Patel, a Democratic candidate vying for the U.S. House seat representing New York’s 12th Congressional District, says “generational change” is on the ballot in the party’s heated Tuesday primary that pits him against two career members of Congress.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Patel described his opponents, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., as “more of the same” and the “status quo,” arguing that their “ineffectiveness” throughout decades of serving as elected officials was proof that he was the only candidate in the race with actual plans to address the biggest issues facing Americans.
“Look, generational change is on the ballot. Two candidates in this race, Maloney and Nadler, are offering more of the same, status quo,” Patel, a 38-year-old attorney, said when asked about his chances of pulling off a surprise victory on Tuesday.
Nadler has been a member of Congress since 1992, serving prior to that in the New York State Assembly since the 1970s. Maloney has been a member of Congress since 1993, serving as a member of the New York City Council prior to that since the 1980s.
“All they’re talking about is their accomplishments, or lack thereof – frankly, their ineffectiveness for the last 30 years … This race is about 2023, 2024 and forward,” he added. “I’m the only candidate in this race with comprehensive plans for inflation, for public safety, for livability and for the economy. Those words aren’t even mentioned on Mr. Nadler’s website because he doesn’t understand the economy, and Congresswoman Maloney has wrong views on it.”
Patel faces an uphill battle against his opponents in a race that has pitted the two veteran House members against each other following the redrawing of New York’s congressional maps and the consolidation of their respective Manhattan Congressional districts into one larger district.
Recent polls have consistently shown Nadler with an advantage over Maloney, with Patel in third, but not without a significant percentage of voter support. In one recent Emerson College poll, Nadler received 43% support, Maloney with 24% and Patel with 14%.
When asked about his status in the polls, Patel dismissed their accuracy and argued he would receive 90% of the undecided vote on election day, insisting such voters were “waiting for someone new.” He cited a previous primary, in which he finished behind Maloney by just a few percentage points despite being further down in the polls ahead of election day.
Patel went on to blast Nadler and Maloney over their lack of real-world experience, and argued that his upbringing from a poor, immigrant family showed he truly understood what it meant to live the American Dream.
“These people have never been in the private sector. They’ve never worked a storefront. My family came to this country with absolutely nothing, and we lived above a bodega in a one-bedroom apartment where we slept on the floor, 13 of us in a line,” he said.
“I’ve lived the American Dream. I believe in America and an economy that works for all people. And I want to fight for it in Washington, D.C.,” he added. “It is resonating out there. People are looking for change. They’re hungry for it.”
Patel vowed that, if elected, he would be a leader who understood the crises facing citizens in the 12th district, specifically homelessness and crime, and that he would be “significantly more energetic” in his representation of the people and on doing something about those issues.
He decried what he referred to as “the loss of our rights,” specifically naming access to abortion, the ability to regulate guns, as well as the ability of the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and factors affecting climate change, and blamed Democrats like Nadler and Maloney for losing to Republicans on such policies.
“Which is why people are looking for a change,” he said.
Patel broke with many Democrats who’ve avoided the topic of whether President Biden should run for reelection in 2024, openly expressing his support for him as “the leader of our party,” and describing his administration’s record as “incredible.”
“He was able to pass a bipartisan gun control bill. He was able to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill which has eluded the last three presidents who expressed interest in passing something. And he passed an infrastructure bill with Republican support, and he passed the semiconductor bill with Republican support,” Patel said.
He specifically praised the passage of the Democrats’ massive social spending and taxation legislation, officially known as the Inflation Reduction Act, and claimed it would actually reduce inflation, despite arguments by a number of economists who’ve said otherwise.
Last week, Patel received what appeared to be a late endorsement by former New York City Mayor and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg when, according to the New York Post, the latter told a Patel campaign staffer that he voted for her boss while leaving an early voting polling location. A spokesperson for Bloomberg, however, would not confirm the vote.
The New York primaries were originally scheduled for June, but were delayed to Aug. 23 due to court proceedings regarding the newly redrawn congressional maps. The winner of the 12th Congressional District Democratic primary will likely go on to win the November general election considering it lies within deep-blue New York City.