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Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said she “wasn’t happy” with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., after he signaled he would run against freshman Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones in New York’s redesigned 17th congressional district.
Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the committee devoted to electing Democrats to the House, angered members of his own party last month after he announced immediately after the new district maps of New York was proposed that he was considering primarying Jones in District 17 instead of running against a Republican in District 18.
Jones later announced that he would run in the newly drawn 10th Congressional District, avoiding a showdown against Maloney.
During a town hall meeting in Easton, Pennsylvania, last week, Wild, a Democrat, slammed Maloney’s “knee-jerk” reaction as well as New York Democrats for trying to gerrymander their way to victory.
“I will tell you that it is something that is discussed pretty much every single day among members of Congress in the Democratic caucus,” she said. “The controversy goes something like this: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is the organization whose job it is to get incumbents like me and others reelected and to help new candidates – and by the way, Republicans have a similar conference – is headed up by a representative by the name of Sean Patrick Maloney.
“Recently, what happened with redistricting in New York, which is where he is, is that the maps were sort of thrown all asunder, and every representative was scrambling for which district they were going to run in,” she continued. “Mr. Maloney opted to run in a district where he actually lives, although you’re not required to live in your district to serve in Congress, but that is not his current district, because of the way they reconfigured the maps. And he announced this within a matter of half an hour, I think, that he would be taking on a freshman incumbent by the name of Mondaire Jones, who currently represents that district.
“So, the question that came up for a lot of people is, how can he run the DCCC if he’s immediately injecting himself in a race against an incumbent whose job it kind of is his to protect that incumbent,” she added. “So the answer to the question is, I have feelings about it. I wasn’t happy with his reaction, particularly his knee-jerk reaction, as I saw it, and I was pretty vocal about it.”
Wild also said New York Democrats “overstepped themselves” in trying to pick up additional seats with the new maps.
“It’s not a pretty sight,” she said. “I will tell you that the Democratic Party in New York overstepped themselves, because they figured they could literally gerrymander New York to pick up additional Democratic seats.
“Yes, I’m saying that as a Democrat,” she continued, “and they really kind of gerrymandered it to the extreme. Now, they’re certainly not the only ones who have done it. We’ve seen it in other states as well, Republican states, and gerrymandering is a major problem. But another problem is having these special masters come in to draw maps, who don’t know anything about the state. That happened here in Pennsylvania.
“I probably said too much,” she added.