In New York’s 18th district, Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay attorney, has won the Democratic nomination for a U.S. House seat. With help from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, this historic moment illustrates the tremendous amount of progress that has unfolded in New York, especially after one year of marriage equality. Supporters say that since working on the White House staff under President Clinton and as first deputy secretary for Governors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, Maloney has the experience necessary to stand up to his Republican opponent and fight for equality and justice in the House. A father himself, Maloney pledges to stand up for the values of middle-class families as the Hudson Valley District’s representative in the House. In November, Maloney will be up against Nan Hayworth, a Republican incumbant backed by Tea Party support, in the upcoming election. Hayworth’s refusal to sign New Yorker Jerrold Nadler’s bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act shows that this Tea Party-backed candidate is the wrong choice for the New York District. Maloney’s supporters say that he, unlike Hayworth, would defend family equality in New York and work to make the House a better reflection of the American people’s values.
Read below for an excerpt from the GayCityNews.com story:
Sean Patrick Maloney, an out gay attorney, has captured the Democratic nomination for the 18th District US House in seat in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley.
Maloney, who served for three years on the White House staff during the Clinton administration and was first deputy secretary for Governors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson from 2007 to 2009, won just under half the votes in a five-candidate primary on June 26.
Maloney, who turns 46 in July, will now face freshman incumbent Republican Nan Hayworth, who beat two-term Democratic Congressman John Hall in 2010.
“Sean has proven he knows how to get things done in Washington,” said Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a nationwide group that works to elect out candidates to office. “He’s deeply experienced and absolutely committed to finding ways to put New Yorkers and all Americans back to work. As an openly gay dad, he’ll also be an authentic voice for LGBT families across the country. We’re extremely pleased about tonight’s big win.”
The Victory Fund, several months ago, endorsed Maloney in a contest that included another out gay candidate, Matt Alexander, the mayor of Wappingers Falls, a Dutchess County municipality of 5,000. Alexander finished third, with about 12 percent of the vote.
The runner-up was Dr. Richard Becker, a cardiologist from Cortlandt in Westchester County, who won about a third of the vote.
The unusual June primary drew less than 15,000 Democratic voters. In 2010, Hayworth won in a race where nearly 210,000 ballots were cast.
The district, which was reconfigured in the wake of the 2010 Census, includes portions of Dutchess and Westchester Counties along the Hudson River and all of Putnam and Orange Counties to the west. When the district lines were announced in the spring, only Alexander actually lived within its borders. Maloney, his partner, realtor, interior designer, and author Randy Florke, and their three adopted children had homes in Manhattan and Sullivan County, just to the west of Orange County. The family has since moved to Cold Spring, a Hudson River community in the district.
Asked in a recent interview with Gay City News whether his status as a newcomer resident in the district was a concern for voters he had met, Maloney responded, “No, it’s not. People care about the issues facing middle-class families.” He noted that his home in Sullivan County was “just up the road” from Orange County.
Maloney’s view of voter attitudes on the issue was apparently on target, given his near-majority finish in a five-man race.
The primary winner said that, in making the race, his strengths were in “sharing the values of middle class families” in the district, his status as the only Democrat running with both federal and state government experience, and his ability to field the best campaign team and the greatest resources.
The most recent federal campaign finance filings in the race, completed on June 6, showed Maloney had outraised Becker $531,000 to $404,000, receipts that dwarfed the $148,000 posted by Alexander.
Maloney noted that his campaign’s communications effort was helmed by Jennifer Cunningham from SKDKnickerbocker, a longtime political ally of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Maloney contested the 2006 state attorney general primary against Cuomo.
In addition to his fundraising advantage, Maloney also enjoyed big name endorsements, including that of former President Bill Clinton, who has lived in Westchester County since leaving the White House, and powerful support from organized labor. He was endorsed by the New York State AFL-CIO, the New York State United Teachers, the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the United Auto Workers, the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, SEIU’s 32BJ building service workers union, and the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1500.
Maloney’s primary night victory party was held at the Teamsters’ Local 445 headquarters in Rock Tavern, an Orange County community.
In November, Maloney will face a Republican candidate who won her first race two years ago with significant Tea Party support. In comments about the race made early this year at an appearance in Manhattan, out gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, noting that the Democrats must show a net gain of 25 congressional seats if they are to regain the majority, said, “We won’t retake the House” if Hayworth, formerly an ophthalmologist from Westchester County’s Mount Kisco, is not defeated.
Maloney voiced confidence about his chances in the fall and his party’s shot at winning control of Congress.
“The House is very much in play,” he told Gay City News. “But, I don’t take lightly running against a well-funded Tea Party favorite.”
He stated that Hayworth had twice voted for Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s budget that would “defund Medicare,” was “a field general in the war on women,” having voted to strip funding from the Women’s Health Care Act and Planned Parenthood, and had even voted against disaster relief for her district in the wake of Hurricane Irene last year.
In an email message to his supporters announcing his run for Congress, Maloney said there was “an urgent need” to recapture the majority from “House Republicans who have turned government into a bitter game of ideological warfare; who can’t compromise or negotiate; who reject smart investments in education and infrastructure; who reject sensible tax policies that create jobs and balance budgets; who would end Medicare as we know it; and take us back decades to a world where women are denied access to contraception coverage, where the environment is under siege, and where LGBT people are second-class citizens.” . . .