By Sarah Roderick-Fitch | The Center Square
In a staggering unexpected blow to Democrats, New York Congressman Sean Maloney has lost to Republican Mike Lawler in New York’s 17th Congressional District.
Maloney is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the first in either major political party to lose a general election race in 42 years. He conceded the race Wednesday, with Lawler having secured just over 50% of the vote.
President Joe Biden carried the district by 10 points in 2020.
In the quest for control of the House of Representatives, Lawler’s win moved Republicans closer to the magic 218-mark for majority with many races yet to be called. The day had begun with 40 undecided.
Maloney, speaking from Washington, said “I didn’t like to lose, but my opponent won this race. He won it fair and square.”
House Minority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy quickly celebrated the stunning victory in a tweet, “Huge win in #NY17! Mike Lawler fought tooth and nail to defeat the Chairman of the DCCC, and will be a strong voice for freedom in Congress. Well done!”
Lawler, a first-term assemblyman tweeted, “Humble in Victory, gracious in defeat.” He concluded his tweet by thanking Maloney for his decade of service to the Hudson Valley region.
Maloney represented the 18th District until it was redrawn and litigated. Maloney opted to run in the 17th, which pushed Rep. Mondaire Jones, a fellow Democrat, into the 10th. Maloney chose the 17th for left-leaning projection.
Democrats were desperate to hold onto to Maloney’s seat. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Maloney, and stressed the significance of retaining Maloney’s seat.
“We cannot lose a member of Congress with his level of seniority,” Clinton said during his campaign speech.
But they did, and more were on the ropes when Election Day ended and Wednesday began. New York’s 18th, 19th and 22nd districts were toss-ups before the election, and played out that way.
By mid-afternoon Wednesday, Republican Marc Molinaro had defeated Democrat Josh Riley in the 19th 51.1% to 48.9% with 95% of the votes in; and Republican Brandon Williams was ahead of Francis Canole 50.6% to 49.4% with 95% of the vote in.
In the 18th, Rep. Pat Ryan led Colin Schmitt 50.4% to 49.6% with 95% of the votes counted. Ryan represents the 19th and shifted to the 18th because of redistricting.