NEW YORK — Rep. Jerry Nadler defeated his longtime colleague Rep. Carolyn Maloney in a contentious Democratic primary Tuesday in New York’s newly drawn 12th Congressional District, NBC News projects.
He’s all but guaranteed in November’s general election to win the heavily Democratic district, which merged Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Upper East Side into one and pitted the two long-serving lawmakers against each other.
Nadler and Maloney were both first elected in 1992 and have since risen to prominence in the House: Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee, and Maloney chairs the Oversight Committee.
After he cast his ballot in the Upper West Side on Tuesday morning, Nadler told NBC News he intends to keep his top spot on the Judiciary panel if he is re-elected.
"Absolutely, I’ll seek to remain the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and I don't think there's much question that that’ll happen," Nadler said. "What I want to achieve is, I believe this country is really a democratic system — with a small d — is threatened. And we're in a pivotal position on the Judiciary Committee to defend against that threat through voting rights legislation and administration."
If Republicans win control of the House this fall, Nadler would lose his committee gavel and likely serve as a ranking member.
Maloney had sought to play up the gender dynamics in the race, noting that she's the only woman representing Manhattan in Congress and suggesting that Nadler was benefiting from an "old boys' network" in New York City.
A third candidate in the race was Suraj Patel, 38, a former staffer for President Barack Obama who ran on a platform of generational change against the two septuagenarians.
Nadler's chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee put him in a position to oversee the proceedings for both impeachments of former President Donald Trump.
In a statement after the outcome was projected, Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated Nadler and praised Maloney for "tenacious leadership," saying she will be "profoundly missed in the Congress."
"Chairwoman Maloney has been a prolific and effective legislator. Americans will continue to benefit from laws she authored to protect credit card users. New York families salute her fight to secure full health benefits for the heroic first responders on September 11th," Pelosi said in a statement.
Nadler had the advantage in endorsements. The New York Times editorial board backed him ahead of the primary, and he received support from more prominent names like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Maloney was endorsed by EMILY’s List, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, songwriter Carole King and feminist and activist Gloria Steinem, among others.
The new map, drawn by a court-appointed expert and approved by a New York judge in May, pulled together much of the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side to form the new district.
Other New York races
Meanwhile, in New York’s 17th Congressional District, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chair of the Democrats’ House campaign arm, won his primary, NBC News projected. He fended off a challenge from Alessandra Biaggi, a progressive state senator.
First-term Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., was also projected by NBC News to win his primary in the 16th Congressional District.
The crowded primary in the 10th Congressional District, covering Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, was still too close to call heading into Wednesday, according to NBC News.
The contest has pitted freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones, a progressive millennial who is one of the first two openly gay Black members of Congress, against the wealthy attorney Dan Goldman, who poured his own money into the race. Other progressive candidates urged voters in the deep blue area not to support Goldman.
Goldman is a former federal prosecutor who was counsel for House Democrats during Trump's first impeachment inquiry.