Rep. Jerry Nadler has earned the endorsement of the 1199SEIU, the influential health care workers union, in his run for the 12th Congressional District against Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Nadler’s campaign exclusively told City & State.
“Congressman Jerry Nadler hasn’t just been an ally for the healthcare workers represented by 1199SEIU, he's been one of our fiercest champions,” said Helen Schaub, the union’s political director said in a statement that also highlighted Nadler’s vote against the Iraq War, along with his support of legislation that “would strengthen unions and protect workers’ rights.”
Nadler called the endorsement an “immense honor” in a statement praising the work of the 1199’s 450,000 members. “I’ve worked closely alongside 1199 SEIU for many years and my commitment to delivering expanded labor protections and better working conditions will always remain unwavering,” he said.
The high-income Manhattan district isn’t exactly a hotspot for the union’s middle class members. But the union’s huge membership means that roughly 4,000 members live in NY-12, according to a campaign spokesperson. The endorsement is also likely to come to institutional support in the form of donations and canvassers handing out campaign literature and making phone calls. A super PAC affiliated with the union may also donate, though Schaub said on Wednesday that decisions on spending hadn’t been made yet. She was speaking at a press conference announcing the union’s support of Carlina Rivera, who is running in the neighboring 10th Congressional District.
More than most other major unions, 1199 has been willing to endorse relatively progressive candidates in competitive races – for example, backing Maya Wiley for New York City mayor in 2021. Nadler has been positioning himself as the more progressive choice over Maloney, as well as other opponents, including Suraj Patel and Ashmi Sheth. He has also earned endorsements from the Working Families Party and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And Nadler has been eager to note that he voted against authorizing war in Iraq, he voted against the Patriot Act that expanded the surveillance state and he voted for the Iran nuclear deal. Maloney was on the opposite side of all the issues.
Many would-be endorsers in the race have been reluctant to pick a side between the two long-time incumbents. But among the groups who have endorsed just one candidate, Maloney has been announcing the support of some more traditionally conservative Democratic unions. On Wednesday, the Uniformed Firefighters Association endorsed her, and last month, she won the support of the Building Trades Council.
This year’s redistricting process drew the homes of Nadler on the Upper West Side and Maloney on the Upper East Side into a single district, pitting the longtime incumbents who have both served in Congress for 30 years against each other. Maloney represents the existing 12th District, while Nadler represents the 10th. Both candidates have solid voter bases, extensive progressive records and are chairs of prominent House committees, with Nadler overseeing the Judiciary Committee and Maloney chairing the Oversight and Reform Committee.
Patel’s campaign insists that he is a factor in the race as well, after running close races against Maloney the previous two cycles. A Patel campaign internal poll from June first reported by the New York Post had Maloney at 30%, Nadler at 28% and Patel at 19%.
Maloney said in a May interview with City & State that she would highlight her work securing benefits for 9/11 first responders and their families in the campaign. She has also leveraged her support for abortion access following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Nadler, meanwhile, said he would play up his role in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment probes while chairing the Judiciary Committee.
Nadler is the longest serving Jewish member of the House, and the newly drawn district is believed to be the most Jewish in the country, according to The New York Times. Maloney, who is Presbyterian, has accused Nadler of using his religion as a “divisive tactic” in the race. She has also made veiled accusations of sexism. She said Nadler asked her to step aside when the new lines were drawn, something she does not believe he would have done if she were a man. Nadler said she “categorically rejected” his suggestion that she run in the 10th Congressional District and recommended he run there instead, he told City & State.