State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi was planning to run for Congress’ third district, but with the newly drawn redistricting maps, Westchester and the Bronx are no longer included in it, putting the state lawmaker a waterway away from the district.
The state lawmaker now plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to represent the 17th Congressional District, which represents northern Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and southern Dutchess counties, in the Hudson Valley. Biaggi lives in southern Westchester County’s Pelham, in District 16.
The district is currently represented by U.S. Rep Mondaire Jones, who plans to run in the 10th Congressional District. Maloney has faced criticism from Progressives for his decision to ditch the 18th district to run in the neighboring bluer district.
“We need Democrats who fight to expand our majority so we can pass our agenda,” Biaggi said in a statement on Tuesday. “Not Maloney, who selfishly moved to a slightly safer district, forcing out a strong Black Congressmember.”
After not responding to requests for comment on Sunday or Monday, Biaggi’s campaign manager Ana Hall confirmed the plans with the Bronx Times Monday evening.
The new districts were finalized on Saturday.
Before this year’s redistricting maps were deemed unconstitutional by the courts, NY-3 mainly included Long Island, dipped into Queens, pulled parts of eastern Westchester along the water and a thin slice of the east Bronx, drawing uproar from Bronxites that made up a sliver of the new district.
Once the now-thrown-out maps were approved, Biaggi told the Bronx Times that NY-3 gives Long Island Sound communities the opportunity to come together.
“Our country doesn’t just need more Democrats in Washington, we need bolder ones,” the Pelham Progressive proclaimed when announcing her campaign for federal office.
But now, NY-3 is back to having much of Long Island and a bit of Queens — without any of the Bronx or Westchester County — as it looked in past years.
Biaggi could have still run for NY-3, even though she lives in Pelham, across the Sound from the whole district. However, there are plenty of competitors looking to replace the district’s current lawmaker U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, a moderate Democrat running for governor.
While New Yorkers don’t need to live in their districts to run for Congress, they need to live in their districts for at least 12 months prior to elections in order to serve in state Senate and Assembly roles, according to the New York Board of Elections. But there is an exception for redistricting years — like this one — when candidates are required to live in the respective county for 12 months prior — which for Biaggi would mean Westchester.
To run for the congressional seat in the district she lives in, Biaggi would have been forced to primary incumbent U.S. Rep. Jamaal Boman, a fellow Progressive from Yonkers running for re-election in District 16. Bowman endorsed Biaggi’s run for NY-3 earlier this year, and Biaggi endorsed his run back in 2020.
And since Biaggi announced her departure from her home state Senate District 34 — which switched to District 36 earlier this year and is now back to District 34 — several candidates have vied for her position, including her former staffer Christian Amato of Pelham Parkway, Lisa Hofflich of Mount Vernon in Westchester, Miguelina Camilo of Riverdale and James Gisondi of Locus Point, who didn’t make it onto the Democratic primary ballot with the old lines because of a technical error and now has the chance to get on.
With Saturday’s new lines, Camilo is now running in state Senate District 33, which Riverdale is now part of. Amato, who now also lives in District 33, and Gisondi, who lives in District 34, have declared their intent to run for Senate District 34, which is Biaggi’s district. Hofflich said she is “strongly considering” continuing her campaign for District 34, although she now lives in District 36, which is represented by state Sen. Jamaal Bailey.
The state Senate and Congressional primaries will now take place Aug. 23. The other Democratic primary races will take place on June 28.
Sylvie Sherlach, Biaggi’s deputy director of communications for her state Senate office, told the Bronx Times she is not authorized to speak on campaign matters.
This article was updated at 12:23 p.m. on May 24.
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes