#Rep. Carolyn Maloney unloads on ‘creepy’ rival Suraj Patel in new campaign ad
“Rep. Carolyn Maloney unloads on ‘creepy’ rival Suraj Patel in new campaign ad”
June 4, 2020 | 7:00pm
Democratic challenger Suraj Patel and Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney
William Farrington; Reuters
Maloney on Thursday released a hard-hitting digital ad and mailings slamming hotel magnate Suraj Patel for his “creepy” use of dating apps to promote his campaign and joking about his attraction to sexually abused gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney — when she was just 16-years-old.
The contest is a rematch after the two faced off two years ago in the race for the 12th Congressional District covering the east side of Manhattan and waterfront neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens. The criticisms first surfaced in 2018.
“Looking for creepy online love connections? Meet Suraj Patel. Patel takes advantage of women by using fake dating profiles to promote his campaign,” the ad says.
The ad quotes a critic saying Patel’s ploy “makes my skin crawl.”
The ad also quotes Patel, 36, saying a 40-year-old guy dating a 17-year-old woman “isn’t that bad” and he was “even bragging about his attraction to a 16-year-old sexual assault survivor’’ – referring to gymnast Maroney.
Incumbents such as Maloney, 74, first elected in 1992, are being more aggressive in attacking their opponents after AOC upset Crowley in the 2018 Democratic primary in the 14th Congressional District covering parts of the Bronx and Queens.
Crowley partly blamed his loss to Ocasio-Cortez in 2018 to failing to expose her left-wing background and record during the campaign — although much of the credit for AOC’s victory has been attributed to Crowley’s no-show status in the district.
Still, he has told former House colleagues not to leave any negatives from their opponent’s background on the table to avoid his fate, sources said.
Patel’s social media antics are inexcusable, said Donna Lent, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
“These kinds of comments and actions send a direct message to women and girls — that we are less than, that it’s OK to see us as objects for sexual gratification and deception and not as human beings in our own right. If you’re willing to deceive voters and engage in this kind of grooming behavior against minors, you shouldn’t be teaching college students — let alone walking the halls of Congress. Leave that to people who truly care about making the world a more equal place — like Carolyn Maloney,” Lent said.
The Patel campaign accused Maloney of engaging in gutter politics.
“This is a disgusting character assassination of a brown man by one of the richest and most privileged white women in Congress,” said Patel campaign spokeswoman Cassie Moreno.
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