NEW YORK (PIX11) — Leading candidates in New York’s 12th Congressional District took the PIX11 debate stage Tuesday evening.
The intriguing race in the heart of Manhattan pits two longtime congressional representatives against each other following a contentious redistricting process, along with a challenger promising change.
On the big national issues, the major difference highlighted was on what to do about the Supreme Court following the striking down of Roe v. Wade.
Congressman Jerry Nadler, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and attorney Suraj Patel each indicated they supported expanding the Supreme Court, perhaps adding as many as four justices.
Maloney said she would be open to impeaching current justices for lying under oath about upholding abortion rights. Patel and Nadler said that is not possible and would not pursue it.
“The evidence is not there to do an impeachment,” Nadler insisted. “Yes, they said they would respect precedent, and that Roe was precedent, but precedent has been struck down before.”
Throughout the debate at Hunter College, Maloney continued to make the case that she had the experience to lead on the big issues of the day. She even said she would be up for potentially working with Republicans on tough issues like universal gun background checks.
“I would then have a press conference every single weekend raising awareness for it,” Maloney said. “I’ve passed bill that have been considered impossible to pass, such as the 9/11 Health and Compensation bill.”
Patel’s response to that answer underscored the case he is making as he runs against two powerful sitting representatives who have been in Congress for 30 years.
“1990s Democrats have lost every major battle to Mitch McConnell and today’s Republicans because we are playing by this 1990s rulebook: Holding press conferences, establishing another blue ribbon panel,” Patel said.
Nadler and Maloney also were far more supportive of President Joe Biden running for re-election than they were in a different debate one week earlier.
On local issues the candidates were more in agreement.
Each promised to push for more policy solutions and money to support migrants arriving each day in New York City.
All candidates also said they supported an exemption or reduced price for their constituents living in the congestion zone and did not support a delay because of the current economic squeeze.
On the monkeypox outbreak, Nadler and Maloney highlighted efforts to get more vaccine to New York City and that things were improving, while Patel expressed frustration over continued issues.
Finally, all supported more funding for the NYPD, with Maloney focusing more on mental health dollars. Nadler also defended comments made two years early about taking money away from the NYPD.
“I did not say I favored defunding,” Nadler insisted. “I said I favored shifting some resources from the police to mental health and social services.”
PIX11 News will host a debate with the candidates of the newly draw 10th Congressional District Wednesday, Aug. 17.