Author Archive

Jewish Press Endorsement For November 8th General Elections, Continued

October 20, 2022

Jewish Press

By Editorial Board

U.S. House of Representatives

Note: Given the anti-Israel efforts in Congress led by “the Squad” (Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar), we have made a special effort to identify those Congressional candidates who have gone out of their way to publicly affirm their support for Israel.

17th Congressional District (Rockland and Westchester Counties):
Lower Hudson Valley

In the 11th CD we endorse Michael Lawler (Republican). While he certainly has embraced virtually all of our criticisms about the woke agenda, we were taken by his commitment if elected to propose legislation that would strip the University of California-Berkley of its public funding over a student resolution that would bar pro-Zionist speakers on campus. He said, “I’m speaking out on something happening in California because what happened there is becoming a norm everywhere.” His is the kind of voice we need in Congress.

Dem Donors Make Last-Ditch Effort To Save DCCC Chair From Republican Challenger

October 19, 2022

The Daily Caller

By Arjun Singh

Democratic donors are rushing to spend money to save Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s chairman, as he looks poised to lose re-election for his New York City suburban seat.

Our Hudson, a Super PAC created in the summer to help Maloney during his primary race against left-wing challenger Alessandra Biaggi, a New York State Senator, has reactivated and begun spending money on attack ads against Republican State Assemblyman Mike Lawler. So far, over $140,000 has been spent, according to Politico.

Maloney has represented the area – formerly the 18th district until New York’s court-mandated redistricting this year – since 2013. Recent opinion polling in the district shows Maloney losing by up to 6% to Lawler, according to surveys by McLaughlin & Associates, which are graded “B/C” by FiveThirtyEight for reliability.

The uptick in polling for Lawler has led to a massive influx of GOP funds in an effort to defeat Maloney, whose own loss – despite being in charge of winning races for House Democrats – would be a crowning achievement for House Republicans as they appear set to retake the chamber in November’s midterms. In the last week alone, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC aligned with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has spent $4 million on the race against Maloney.

Dan Conston, the fund’s president, told the NYP that “Sean Patrick Maloney’s hubris is catching up with him. We have a real shot to beat him in November.”

The spending comes in addition to Maloney’s own spending of $2 million on upcoming television ads, while Lawler himself has spent $380,000. The sums being spent are unusually high in a district that, until 2021, had a Cook Partisan Voting Index score of D+8, and voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election by a margin of 10%.

“The economy, crime, and New York’s punitively high taxes are key drivers in the race. Another factor is Maloney’s constant absence from his district. He was on a 10-city tour that included Paris, London, and Geneva last week, for example, while his constituents struggled to buy groceries. That’s been going on for years; it’s no surprise that voters have had it with him,” said William Francis Buckley O’Reilly, a Lawler spokesman.

The newly-drawn district includes parts of Westchester County and Rockland County, which includes affluent suburbs inhabited by many who commute to work in New York City. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among the district’s notable residents.

Maloney’s candidacy created a furor among House Democrats earlier in the year when he displaced Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones, who represented the previous 17th district, from running in the seat, even though Jones previously represented more areas in the new district than Maloney. Jones was instead forced to run in New York’s 10th congressional district, encompassing Lower Manhattan and parts of Northwestern Brooklyn in New York City, and lost his primary.

Maloney and Lawler participated in a virtual debate on Oct. 13, where Maloney accused Lawler of being a “MAGA Republican” and for “being in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies and the fossil fuel industry.” Lawler, in response, said that Maloney “can’t de­fend his own record on any­thing in this cam­paign, so he has spent his en­tire cam­paign ly­ing about mine.”

Early voting in New York elections opens on Oct. 29.

House GOP drops $4M in ads to defeat Pelosi pal Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

October 18, 2022

New York Post

By Carl Campanile

House Republicans are pouring $4 million into broadcast TV ads to help Mike Lawler defeat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in the race for New York’s 17th Congressional district.

The GOP-run Congressional Leadership Fund Super PAC believes it has the New York congressman — a close pal of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who chairs the Democrats’ fundraising arm — on the ropes.

“Sean Patrick Maloney’s hubris is catching up with him,” CLF President Dan Conston said Tuesday. “We have a real shot to beat him in November.”

The Super PAC — run by allies of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — is airing a 30-second spot of Maloney saying he backs controversial bail reform during a 2018 debate.

“Do you believe in ending cash bail?” the interviewer asks.

“Absolutely and I’d make it a top priority,” Maloney answers.

The outcome of the Maloney-Lawler contest in the Hudson Valley — along with a half dozen other competitive races in New York — could determine whether Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.

Lawler’s campaign has released internal polls claiming he’s slightly ahead of Maloney, who was first elected in 2012 and is running for a sixth term.

Lawler, a state assemblyman representing Rockland, formerly served as executive director of the state Republican Party.

Maloney said he’s confident he’ll win re-election despite the GOP onslaught, and sought to portray Lawler as a toady of former President Donald Trump.

“Republicans have spent millions against me and their numbers still say MAGA Mike Lawler is losing. CLF can light another $4 million on fire and peddle open racism in an attempt to rescue their loser candidate — it won’t work,” Maloney said.

“I’ve won 5 times in a Trump district and I didn’t need to play footsie with insurrectionists to do it. Lawler is just another Trump errand boy who will be too busy taking away your reproductive rights to deliver for the Hudson Valley.”

Maloney’s campaign said efforts to paint him as soft on crime won’t work because he’s delivered more than $7 million in funding for local police departments and opposed the defund the police movement.

His campaign also insisted that he “consistently demanded” that the bail reform law first approved by Democratic state lawmakers in Albany in 2019 have safeguards to keep dangerous people off the streets, while not keeping poor defendants locked up simply because they lacked cash to post bail.

An ethics complaint filed against Maloney in August claimed he potentially misused a staffer for personal services, a dual role first exposed by The Post.

The new ad blitz comes on top of the $2 million that the CLF already spent on ads in the 17th CD — bringing the total to $6 million.

With New York State losing a seat following redistricting, Maloney decided to run in the reconfigured 17th District, currently represented by Rep. Mondaire Jones, instead of the 18th CD, which he now represents.

That triggered Jones to unsuccessfully seek election in the 10th CD covering brownstone Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Jones lost in a primary to Dan Goldman, the Levi Strauss Co. heir who served as the House Democrats’ chief impeachment lawyer during Trump’s first impeachment proceeding.

Republican group drops $4 million against DCCC Chairman

October 18, 2022

NBC News

By Ben Kamisar

New York Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney faces his own tough race, not to mention the task of helping Democrats keep the House.

The top House super PAC working to win back the body for Republicans says it’s dropping $4 million in television ads aimed at upping the pressure on Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the New York Democratic congressman who also leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign.

Congressional Leadership Fund’s new ad focuses on crime, criticizing 2018 comments Maloney made on opposing cash bail — during his attorney general bid that year, he said he would make ending cash bail a top priority.

“Sean Patrick Maloney’s hubris is catching up with him,” CLF President Dan Conston said in a statement about Maloney, referencing the redistricting-related shift that now has him running in a different district.

“Maloney made a grave miscalculation in giving up incumbency and we have a real shot to beat him in November.”

Maloney told The Journal News that he supports ending cash bail in some cases as an issue of fairness.

And Maloney criticized the effort in a statement to NBC News: “Republicans have spent millions against me and their numbers still say MAGA Mike Lawler is losing. CLF can light another $4 million on fire and peddle open racism [the statement referenced this link] in an attempt to rescue their loser candidate — it won’t work. I’ve won 5 times in a Trump district and I didn’t need to play footsie with insurrectionists to do it. Lawler is just another Trump errand boy who will be too busy taking away your reproductive rights to deliver for the Hudson Valley.”

The big investment from CLF down the stretch takes aim at Maloney as he faces a competitive election against Republican state Assemblyman Mike Lawler, who has made crime a big issue in his bid. But it also comes as Maloney, who chairs the DCCC, has his eyes on the Democratic efforts to hold the House majority after November’s elections.

Road to control of Congress runs through New York

October 17, 2022

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

By Joe Mahoney

ALBANY — Congressional races across New York are heating up in a titanic clash between Republicans and Democrats that will be a factor in determining which party has control of the U.S. House of Representatives come January.

Nationally, if the House seesaws to Republican control in the midterm elections, President Joe Biden’s agenda for the remaining two years of his term would be in jeopardy. The White House plans would likely be limited to those areas where there is agreement with the GOP, and Republicans would be in a position to open investigations that could be politically damaging to Democrats.

“If the Republicans win a majority in the U.S. House, there is going to be a lot of tension between the House and the President, and the House is going to start to oversee the workings of the administration more closely,” said Harvey Schantz, a State University at Plattsburgh political science professor. “So it’s going to be very antagonistic, just as it was when you think back to when Donald Trump was the Republican President with a Democratic majority in the House.”

To take the House majority, Republicans would have to end up with a net gain of five seats nationally.

New York’s significance as a national battleground in the congressional calculus has not been lost on top Democrats and Republicans.

President Joe Biden swooped into Poughkeepsie Oct. 6 in a visit that was converted into photo opportunities by Democrats running for hotly contested congressional seats in the Hudson Valley.

Five days earlier, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy flew to Long Island to promote Republican congressional candidate Nick LaLota.

No matter what happens when votes are counted Nov. 8, there will be fresh faces in New York’s Washington delegation come January.

In the redrawn 19th congressional district, one of New York’s most fiercely contested races features Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, against former Washington D.C. lawyer Josh Riley, who now resides in Ithaca.

Should Molinaro take the seat, it will likely prompt Democrats to re-examine Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision earlier this year to tap former Rep. Antonio Delgado to fill the lieutenant governor vacancy created by the corruption scandal that capsized the career of Brian Benjamin. He was Hochul’s initial appointed lieutenant governor.

One of the races that drew Biden to New York has incumbent Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, facing a spirited challenge from Assemblyman Mike Lawler of Rockland County. The non-partisan Cook Political Report suggests the 17th Congressional District leans Democratic.

In an unusual turn of events, Rep. Pat Ryan, D-Ulster County, won the special election for Delgado’s former seat in August, though he is now running for the 18th District seat, due to redistricting. His opponent is Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, R-Orange County.

Republican campaign strategist Vincent Casale of Cooperstown said Biden’s visit to the Hudson Valley was intended to stoke turnout for Maloney, Riley and Ryan, since those three races are competitive. “President Biden didn’t just wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, let’s go to Poughkeepsie,'” Casale observed.

Casale said he believes the focus trained on the Hudson Valley by both Biden and McCarthy is an indicator that the seats for the 17th and 18th districts are both seen as being toss-ups on Nov. 8.

“Their visits to New York tell you a lot,” he said. “It tells you those races are going to be tight. Certainly, Republicans have an opportunity to flip those two seats.”

Another upstate race that polls suggest is too close to call will result in a newcomer being sent to Washington. Republican Brandon Williams and Francis Conole are vying to represent the 22th Congressional District in Central New York.

Further changes in the state’s delegation makeup will come from Long Island, where Reps. Kathleen Rice and Rep. Tom Suozzi opted not to seek re-election. Meanwhile, another opening came about when Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-Nassau County, became the GOP nominee for governor. If Zeldin performs well in his home territory, one of the state’s most heavily populated suburban areas, it could bode well for down-ballot Republicans on Long Island.

In a redrawn district linking the North Country with northern Otsego County and Schoharie County, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Saratoga, has emerged as the favorite as she faces a challenge from Democrat Matt Castelli, a former National Security Council staffer.

Stefanik’s support for Trump has spawned attacks from Castelli and his supporters while Stefanik, who outperformed Trump in the earlier version of the district in 2020, has painted Castelli as a carpetbagger from Poughkeepsie. Castelli now lives in Glens Falls

One Western New York race generating interest has more to do with the fact the 23rd Congressional District features the reigning New York state Republican boss, Nick Langworthy, than it does with any competitive drama. Republicans have been a dominant force in that region, and polls suggest Langworthy is the favorite against Democrat Max Della Pia.

Across the state, the Democratic congressional candidates have been focusing on abortion rights as a key issue, while Republicans have been emphasizing inflation, taxes and other economic concerns.

In Plattsburgh, Schantz said as Congress deals with issues that are national in scope, it is typical for campaigns to appeal to voters based on the issues that could provide their candidates with the most traction.

For Republicans to gain congressional seats in New York, the party’s candidates in competitive districts will need to draw significant support from independents — voters who aren’t affiliated with a party, also known as blanks, Schantz said.

A recent Siena College poll found the top issue concerning New York voters is the economy.

Abortion placed fifth on the list of voter concerns.

Coming ahead of abortion were: “threats to democracy” (second); crime (third place) and gun control policies (fourth place).

Early voting in New York begins Oct. 29.

Democrats’ blue-state headaches

October 16, 2022


By Josh Kraushaar

House Republicansare increasingly confident they can make unexpected inroads into some solidly Democratic congressional districts, including in some of the bluest states in the country: California, Connecticut, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Why it matters: Following the money is as important as following the (limited) congressional public polling. Republicans are now pouring over $25 million into some of the bluest political battlegrounds on the map — a fresh sign that the political winds favor the GOP down the home stretch.

  • The Congressional Leadership Fund, aligned with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, has spent or reserved over $23 million on ads in eight Democratic-held districts that President Biden carried by double-digit margins. (Ariz.-4, Calif.-13, Calif.-47, Calif.-49, Conn.-5, N.Y.-17, Ore.-4, R.I.-2.)
  • The NRCC is also spending $2.2 million on coordinated or hybrid ad buys with their nominees in five more Democratic-held districts that Biden carried by double-digits. (Calif.-26, Ga.-2, N.M.-3, N.Y.-4, Ore.-6).

Zoom in: Republicans are bullish they can win the Oregon governor’s race for the first time since 1982, boosted by an intra-Democratic feud. Democrats are playing furious defense in three Biden-friendly House battlegrounds in Oregon as well.

  • In a Rhode Island district that Biden carried by 14 points, a new Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll found Republican Allan Fung leading by eight points over Democrat Seth Magaziner.
  • In a Connecticut district Biden won by 11, Republicans are spending $2.7 million against Rep. Jahana Hayes. The seat hasn’t been seriously contested since 2012, but Republicans nominated a moderate Black state legislator, George Logan, who’s demonstrating broad bipartisan appeal.
  • Democrats are also concerned about several New York battlegrounds, even after an expectation-defying special election victory by Rep. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.) in August. Outside GOP groups are spending money to flip four Democratic-held seats in the Hudson Valley and Long Island, while looking to protect an upstate Republican seat in Biden-friendly territory.

The intrigue: One of the New York seats in which Republicans are spending big bucks is the redrawn seat of DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney, whose suburban New York City district backed Biden by 10 points. Outside Republican groups are spending over $2 million in attack ads against Maloney to boost Republican state Assemblyman Mike Lawler.

Between the lines: One common denominator in most of these blue-state races: Crime. Murders have been on the rise in major metropolitan areas within these states and near these districts, and the GOP’s advertising has hit Democrats over bail reform, reallocating resources away from police, and an overall sense of disorder.

  • Another factor, according to one Republican official analyzing internal data, is that abortion isn’t quite as motivating of an issue — voters are more confident reproductive rights are secure in states where Republicans are in the minority.
  • In addition, none of these blue states have hotly contested Senate races driving up turnout, a dynamic that benefits Republicans. One House GOP strategist told Axios that their candidates are overperforming in these blue states, but not yet pulling away in typical swing districts where higher Democratic engagement has kept races closer.

The bottom line: The fact that Biden spent political capital in Democratic strongholds Oregon and California this week — less than a month before Election Day — speaks volumes about the national mood.

Mike Lawler leads Pelosi pal DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney: poll

October 14, 2022

New York Post

By Carl Campanile

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a top ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who oversees the House Democrats’ campaign fundraising arm, is on the ropes in his re-election bid, a new poll released by his rival Friday claims.

Republican candidate Assemblyman Michael Lawler’s campaign released an internal poll claiming he leads Maloney 52% to 46% in the district covering the lower Hudson Valley.

“Voters in New York’s 17th Congressional District remain frustrated with the current state of the country, specifically regarding inflation, the economy and crime,” said pollster Jim McLaughlin.

“Maloney and his extreme views on issues such as cashless bail, taxes, spending, inflation and ethics are being exposed and this is making Maloney very unpopular with voters.”

The Lawler-commissioned survey says headwinds favor the GOP in the district: 72% of likely voters say the U.S. is on the wrong track, 56% disapprove of President Biden’s job performance, while Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin leads Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul in the governor’s race in the 17th CD 52% to 44%.

“Lawler can release as many skewed internal polls as he likes, but it won’t change the reality that he is losing because his extremist MAGA agenda of banning abortion, opposing gun safety reforms, and engaging in disgusting, anti-Semitic attacks isn’t welcome in the Hudson Valley,” said Maloney campaign spokeswoman Mia Ehrenberg.

The Maloney campaign dismissed the findings.

Lawyer’s campaign claims his lead over Maloney in internal polling jumped from 2 points in July to 6 points now.

But the independent Cook Political report gives Maloney the edge in the race, rating the contest as leaning Democrat.

The contest is one of about a half dozen competitive races in New York that could determine whether Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats.

Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was first elected in 2012, and is running for a sixth term.

Lawler, a former executive director of the state Republican Party, was first elected to the state Assembly in 2020 representing Rockland County.

The GOP internal poll of 400 likely general election voters in CD 17 was conducted from
October 10-12 and has a margin of error of plus or 4.9 percentage points.

The sample includes a mix of 33% landline phone, 34% mobile phone, and 33% text-to-web interviews.

On abortion, I will always advocate for life

October 6, 2022

The Journal News

By Michael V. Lawler

American politics can get ugly. Candidate positions are so often misconstrued by opponents that it’s vitally important to get the truth out to voters in every way possible.

In my race for Congress in New York 17th District — all or parts of Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties — I’ve been amazed, for example, by how much my position on abortion has been misrepresented, and I use that word generously, by my opponent. I barely recognize myself in the mailers and television ads being used against me.

Let me be clear: I am personally pro-life, while also supporting the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. For the record, I’m also opposed to a federal ban on abortion and would vote against one.

My support for life was reaffirmed for me when my wife and I experienced a miscarriage in 2020. Thankfully, we were blessed with a healthy baby girl this year.

I recognize that abortion has always been a lightning-rod issue in this country, and June’s Supreme Court Decision overturning Roe v. Wade brought it back to the forefront in many states across America.

The decision changes nothing in New York, though. Abortion was made legal here in 1970, under a Republican governor and a Republican-led state senate and assembly, interestingly, and our laws have only moved leftward since. Too far left, in my opinion.

In 2019, New York went all the way, allowing abortions right up until the moment of birth for virtually any reason — something I vehemently oppose — aligning itself with nations like China and North Korea, where abortions are used as a form of population control and gender selection. Most European countries, in contrast, allow abortions only in the first trimester.  

New York prohibits parents from being notified if their minor daughter seeks an abortion — and also allows non doctors to perform abortions, which effectively means that many low-income New Yorkers receive abortions from non-physicians today. Wherever one stands on the abortion issue, that doesn’t seem fair.

While I don’t agree with New York’s radical abortion laws, I do respect the will of the state’s voters whom the Supreme Court have given exclusive jurisdiction over the abortion issue. New York is a strongly pro-choice state. I get it.

One thing we all can agree on, hopefully, is that New York needs to do more to help vulnerable young women and families make the best decisions for themselves when pregnancies occur. I will always advocate for life, but I will never stand in judgment.

No one wants an abortion, and I sympathize with anyone struggling to make that choice.

As we move forward, there needs to be a more civilized discussion around this important issue, and a respect for differing viewpoints. If I am fortunate enough to be elected your congressman, I look forward to being part of that discussion and will pledge to always keep an open mind and open heart.

Assemblyman Michael V. Lawler is the Republican and Conservaitve Party nominee for Congress in New York’s 17th District, which includes all or parts of Rockland, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

The Post endorses Mike Lawler in NY-17 House race

October 1, 2022

New York Post

By Post Editorial Board

In the fight for the new Rockland-Westchester 17th Congressional District, The Post endorses Assemblyman Mike Lawler over Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

Lawler is a no-nonsense Republican with a vision to get the things that matter to New Yorkers done.

On crime, he wants to end cashless bail and give judges back the power to actually make decisions based on a dangerousness standard. On the economy, he promises to fight back against disastrous policies that harm everyday citizens, including runaway government spending that drives inflationas well as regressive taxes on the less affluent, like the MTA’s insane congestion pricing plan.

He’s also promising to battle woke nonsense in schools and talking sense on abortion — and worked with genuine bipartisan enthusiasm in his prior legislative career.

In other words, he’s the model of a conscientious, serious elected official doing his best to fight for the interests of his voters. Which makes him the very opposite of his opponent.

We’ll say it again: Sean Patrick Maloney is the most arrogant, self-serving incumbent in all New York, and possibly all of Congress.

How? Let us count the ways.

  • He couldn’t be bothered to alert fellow Dem Rep. Mondaire Jones before announcing that he’d run in NY-17, which contains a lot more of Jones’ old district than it does Maloney’s — despite being the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, i.e. in charge of making sure Dems get elected and re-elected.
  • Speaking of new districts, Maloney was one of the presiding geniuses behind the New York Dems’ disastrous gerrymander effort in the first place — which failed and set the Empire State caucus to clawing at one another’s throats (and may end up costing Dems control of the House).
  • In 2018, this joker ran for two offices at the same time, entering the state attorney general primary even as he stayed in the race for his then-House seat, in a scheme widely seen as part of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vendetta against progressive gadfly Zephyr Teachout. More, he shadily spent cash from his federal campaign fund on the state race.
  • He also spent campaign bucks on what sure looks like a hire for personal services in the form of his aide Harold Leath (who’s registered to vote at the property Maloney lives in with his family), a move that is now the subject of a House ethics complaint.
  • He’s a mastermind of the cynical Dem strategy of backing far-right congressional candidates — you know, the MAGA Republicans who represent an existential threat to democracy? — on the grounds that they’ll make weaker opponents come the midterms.

His policies are awful, too. In his 2018 AG run, he vowed to make ending cash bail a “top priority” if elected, only to fall back on supporting Gov. Hochul’s lame “fixes” after crime soared. He voted for all the Biden spending blowouts through the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, yet told The New York Times in August, when inflation hit 8.3%, that “what we’ve done on the spending side” is not the “primary driver of this.” In the same interview, he again called for packing the Supreme Court and killing the filibuster, but dodged when asked about term limits.

Maloney fended off a primary challenge from socialist Alessandra Biaggi. But polling now shows Lawler ahead. No shock there: New Yorkers left and right alike are sick of self-dealing, smug insiders like Maloney putting their own interests ahead of the voters’ and even fellow Democrats’.

Lawler is a standup guy; Maloney, a total tool. The choice is obvious.

NY-17 GOP candidate Michael Lawler on SALT, crime and congestion pricing

September 27, 2022

Spectrum News 1

By Susan Arbetter

New York’s 17th Congressional District in the lower Hudson Valley race pits current 18th District incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney against first-term state Assemblyman Republican Michael Lawler, of Rockland County.

It’s Maloney’s race to lose: not only does he have the benefit of incumbency, he is the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, so he’s responsible for getting Democrats elected this cycle.

But Lawler is smart and has shown he is willing to work across the aisle, which will likely matter in a district that the Cook Political Report describes as “leans Democratic.”

While only a first-term assemblyman, Lawler has worked in politics for 14 years, starting out as a campaign worker for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain during his presidential bid, and then as the executive director of the New York state Republican Party. He also ran former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s campaign for governor in 2014.

“I’m a small business owner. I’ve served locally as a deputy town supervisor in the town of Orangetown before becoming assemblyman in 2020, flipping a 2-1 Democratic district, defeating a 14-year incumbent,” he said.

Lawler, who is married with an infant, told Capital Tonight that people are tired of one-party rule. That said, he has worked across the aisle during his tenure in the Legislature, ensuring passage of Alyssa’s Law.

“I have among the most bipartisan records in Albany,” he said. “People are looking for common sense and balance at every level of government and I think I offer that.”

Lawler cited record inflation, the cap on SALT, high gas prices, crime, the southern border, education and energy policy as issues that he’s hearing about on the campaign trail.

“When you’re paying $11 for a package of chicken cutlets or $7 for a box of cereal, it’s a problem,” Lawler stated.

When it was pointed out to him that the cap on SALT was implemented under former Republican President Donald Trump, he said his opponent, Sean Patrick Maloney, had “an obligation” to negotiate and ensure that the cap on SALT was removed from the final bill.

“He packed up his things and went home,” Lawler said of Maloney.

In August, Maloney strenuously objected to Lawler’s characterization, which the assemblyman has made in the past.

“It’s guys like me who have been fighting that tooth and nail,” he told the Examiner.“We’re going to get that done, with no thanks to Lawler, who supports the party that let that get away.”

When Lawler was asked what he would do to tackle crime in Congress, he cited the following statistics.

“Since cashless bail has been enacted, crime is up 36% in New York City,” he said.

To support this claim, Lawler sent Capital Tonight a Manhattan Institute study from July, which used NYPD comp stat numbers, which are typically higher than those released by DCJS.

Indeed, according to numbers released last week by DCJS, total index crimes in New York City have increased from 2020 to 2021 by 5.2%.

Violent crimes, a subset of index crimes, rose by 11.3% during the same time period.

Regarding rearrests, Assemblyman Lawler stated that “40% of those who have been released on non-monetary bail have been re-arrested for offenses while those charges were pending.”

Those statistics are backed up by the recent DCJS release of data.

As a member of Congress, Lawler told Capital Tonight that, if the state Legislature and the governor fail in their responsibilities to the residents of the state on crime, then Congress must act.

“There’s multiple bills before the House of Representatives, including Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis’ bill which would do what the federal government often does, and that’s control the purse strings and force New York to act,” Lawler explained. “You cannot continue to have a situation where violent repeat offenders are put back onto our streets and the government is failing to act.”

Another issue of importance to voters in the new NY-17 is congestion pricing. While both Lawler and Maloney are against the plan released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Lawler introduced a measure in Albany to repeal the enacting legislation.

“Unlike my opponent who just recently announced his opposition to congestion pricing, I’ve been opposed to congestion pricing from the start,” Lawler said.New York’s 17th Congressional District in the lower Hudson Valley race pits current 18th District incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney against first-term state Assemblyman Republican Michael Lawler, of Rockland County.