Rep. Carolyn Maloney accused her longtime-colleague-turned-opponent Rep. Jerry Nadler of using his religious faith as a “divisive tactic” in the heated primary race.
Maloney said Nadler, who is Jewish, was playing identity politics as a method of appealing to voters when the race should be focused on the issues that affect voters.
“It’s a strange way to run, it’s sort of like, ‘Vote for me, I’m the only woman, or I’m the only white person, I’m the only Black person,’” Maloney told the New York Times. “Why don’t you put forward your statement, your issues, what you’ve done and the merit you bring to the race?”
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The Times article focused on the decline in New York City’s Jewish representation in Congress over the year — with the city at risk of losing its last remaining Jewish congress member, Nadler, should Maloney win.
Allies of three decades, Nadler and Maloney, found themselves facing off head-to-head in the primary race for the 12th Congressional District when a court-appointed special master redrew the district to include portions of Nadler’s current 10th district.
Maloney’s accusation of Nadler using identity politics as a divisive tactic was at least the second time she fired an attack at her former ally this month. In early June, she accused Nadler of sexism for allegedly asking her to step aside and let him run for their newly-combined district.
She told the Post that she believed Nadler would not have asked a male rival to do the same.
The pair each started their Congressional careers in the ’90s with Nadler representing a district running down the Upper West Side in the 10th District and Maloney holding down the Upper East Side in the 12th District.
In May, the special master combined the neighborhoods into one district, the new 12th District. Despite the new district being 60% Maloney’s, Nadler jumped into the race, rather than potentially face alien territory in his newly redrawn 10th district — which has now become a fiercely competitive open seat.
The political careers of the two Democrats, who are each longstanding powerhouses and committee chairs in Congress, desperately hinge on who wins the Aug. 32 primary.
The new 12th district they are both hoping to win is believed to be the most Jewish in the country, according to the Times.
While Nadler was raised Jewish and worships at B’nai Jeshurun, a historic synagogue in the Upper West Side, Maloney, who is Presbyterian, has attempted to appeal to Jewish voters throughout her campaign.
For instance, her campaign highlighted her bill promoting Holocaust education in schools as well as her vote against former President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal — which Nadler supported.