New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney was the head of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, responsible for protecting vulnerable incumbents within his party. He lost his re-election election to Republican Mike Lawler.
Maloney admitted the race to Lawler in a telephone call earlier Wednesday, a spokesperson from Maloney’s campaign stated.
Maloney’s defeat is symbolic of the GOP. This is especially true considering that Democrats seemed to limit large losses and avoid a “red tsunami” many Republicans predicted.
Maloney has now conceded to the fact that Democratic super PACs and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Maloney heads launched a last-minute rescue mission to save him. They poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Maloney’s race over the final two weeks.
Maloney had been traveling the country raising money for vulnerable colleagues and had to return to his Hudson Valley district to ensure his political survival.
Maloney could not stop an avalanche of GOP spending and attack ads by Lawler, a state legislator, which cast Maloney as weak on crime because he supported ending cash bail for prisoners.
On Wednesday, Maloney spoke out about his party’s strong performance on Election Day. He stated that the results showed “there’s still a beating heart to American democracy”.
Maloney acknowledged that he is competitive, but he said this was not the time to be bitter.
“I don’t like losing. My opponent won the race, and he won it squarely. That’s something. So I’m going to step aside. I had a great run …” Maloney told reporters. “I’m not going to complain about it. This is the right way. It’s right to say that the other guy won, wish him well, and offer my support. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
“And I’m going to take pride in my service, and then I’m going to talk with my family about the next steps.”
Republicans rejoiced at the demise of the Democratic campaign chief.
“Mike’s win just sent SHOCKWAVES all across the country as Sean Patrick Maloney, failed DCCC Chair, was FIRED!” Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), was the GOP Conference Chairwoman.
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy sprang on at an election night party in Washington overnight: “In New York, we defeated the Democrat Campaign Chairman, Sean Patrick Maloney. This will be the first time that a DCCC chair has lost his reelection in more than 40 years.”
In a Wednesday statement, Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, thanked Maloney. She credited him with helping House Democrats surpass expectations Tuesday and called him “a remarkable leader of the DCCC.”
Pelosi stated that the Pyrrhic victory of Republicans in this race may be because it was at the expense of other potential Republican wins.
The House Democratic Caucus’s resignation of Maloney has bigger implications. It shuts down the possibility for Maloney to run for a second term in the role of DCCC chairman. It will also rekindle a fierce debate among House Democrats over whether one of their most vulnerable members should take charge of the campaign operation.
In the last two years, Democrats spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the home stretch to protect Cheri Bustos, the then-DCCC Chair from Illinois, another “frontline member” like Maloney. She won her race for reelection, but she decided to retire a few months later and ceded her seat in the Quad Cities.
Reps. Tony Cardenas (California) and Ami Bera (California) have expressed interest in running to be the DCCC chairman for the 2024 cycle. Cardenas narrowly lost the race to be campaign chairman to Maloney two years ago. Bera was one of Maloney’s top lieutenants at DCCC, responsible for protecting vulnerable incumbents.
Cardenas is a district that is deep blue in Southern California. Bera, however, has been targeted by Republicans in the Sacramento area district.
Maloney was a Clinton White House aide and became the first openly homosexual person elected to Congress from New York in 2012.
However, he was criticized by fellow Democrats for running in the 17th district of New York, which is slightly more friendly than the 18th. This decision led freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), one of the first openly Gay Black men to run for Congress. Jones lost his primary in New York City.
Jones sent a tweet just moments after Maloney had conceded his race to Jones: “Yikes.”