Maloney holds on to seat

The chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee appears to have won her primary after six weeks of vote counting that was complicated by a proliferation of contested absentee ballots.

US Representative Carolyn Maloney attends festival on Roosevelt Island NY April 2019 - Image Editorial credit: lev radin /


Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said she was certified as the winner in her primary election by the New York State Board of Elections on Aug. 4.

Maloney is the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which has broad authority over federal government technology and the workforce and, under the rules of the House of Representatives, has wide latitude to investigate any government programs and subpoena government witnesses.

Maloney won the Oversight gavel after the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) last year in a race that came down to her and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)

The chairwoman had been locked in a tight primary to represent New York's 12th district, which includes swathes of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Election Day in that race was held June 23, but the results were delayed because of extensive absentee voting. The vote count was further complicated because 12,000 ballots were disqualified for various reasons and because of allegations that the Board of Elections was late mailing out thousands of ballots.

Maloney's rival, New York City attorney Suraj Patel, has not conceded in the race and is a plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to count disqualified ballots. A judge ordered the counting of about 1,000 ballots that were disqualified because they arrived without a postmark in an Aug. 3 ruling, but that number is less than Maloney's current reported lead so the additional votes won't change the outcome of the race.

President Donald Trump waded into the discussion on Monday. He sees the delays and complications as an example of why widespread mail-in voting, which he opposes despite the dangers of large in-person gatherings posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is unworkable.

"And if you look at the New York congressional race, which is a disaster -- Carolyn -- it's been a total disaster.  They have -- they’re six weeks into it now.  They have no clue what's going on.  And, I mean, I think I can say right here and now, I think you have to rerun that race because it's a mess," Trump said at a press briefing.

Maloney said in a statement that officials "must take a number of actions to protect the safety of our vote in the general election."

Maloney said she supported "increased funding for the post office, an end to measures taken by the President that might impact timely delivery of applications or ballots and conducting oversight to ensure that voters have faith in the results of their elections."

Some turnover on the Oversight panel is coming, even though Maloney appears on track to retain the gavel. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), the third most senior member of the committee after Maloney and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), lost his primary on Aug. 4 to Cori Bush, a St. Louis progressive who has been a leader in the protests that took place after the police killing of teenager Michael Brown in 2014.