Republican Lawler Beats DCCC Chair Maloney in New York for First Time in 40 Years to Flip House Seat Red

Wednesday morning, five-term incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman, conceded to Republican Mike Lawler in New York’s newly-drawn 17​th Congressional District. The concession by Maloney acknowledged defeat in his reelection bid to the House on Tuesday.

The newly aligned district covers Rockland County and parts of Westchester County, which includes many affluent suburbs, and is the congressional district of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

After a closely fought race, Maloney trailed Lawler 50.6% to 49.4% on Wednesday, with 95% of the vote in, prompting the concession. Lawler dealt Democrats an embarrassing loss in an area that President Biden won by 10 points in 2020.

The loss is a significant blow to the House Democratic Caucus with Maloney’s status as DCCC Chair, where he was in charge of winning House elections for Democrats and a senior member of the party’s leadership. This also makes Lawler the first Republican to defeat aDemocratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman in 40 years.

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Redistricting means that Maloney only currently represents 25% of the residents that will be in the newly drawn district, stripping him of the typical incumbent advantage. Lawler represents about 20% of the district in the state assembly as a first-term assemblyman.

Maloney currently serves in New York’s 18th congressional district, but chose to run in the new drawn 17th district, which encompassed most of Representative Mondaire Jones’s district. Jones chose to run in New York 10th congressional district in New York City but was defeated in a crowed primary.

Lawler’s gains occurred after New York’s congressional map was significantly changed, following a New York Court of Appeals decision inHarkenrider v. Hochul that struck down the Democratic state legislature-drawn congressional maps for engaging in “partisan gerrymandering,” per the opinion.

The race between Maloney and Lawler focused primarily on inflation and abortion, theme adopted by Republicans and Democrats nationally. Maloney sought to highlight Lawler’s pro-life position on abortion, arguing that it would hurt women’s rights, while Lawler claimed that Maloney’s support for Biden’s agenda led to higher inflation and a greater threat of crime.

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