Politico

Dueling polls show Maloney with sizable lead over Biaggi in New York primary


Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has a big lead over New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in one of the most closely watched Democratic House primaries remaining this summer.

Biaggi, who is challenging the five-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for the newly drawn 17th District, is trailing Maloney by double digits in a pair of internal polls commissioned on behalf of the dueling campaigns and shared exclusively with POLITICO.

The point the two teams disagree over is just how much Maloney is ahead — and who’s got the momentum.

Maloney’s polling shows him beating Biaggi by 34 points, 52 percent to 18 percent — almost exactly what another internal survey by his team found in late May and early June. Biaggi’s numbers still show her behind, but by 13 points, 34 percent to 21 percent. Despite the deficit, her campaign says the figures indicate a race that is tightening in her favor.

Biaggi is hoping to become the next progressive to knock out an incumbent Democrat in Congress. Maloney, chair of House Democrats’ campaign arm, upset liberals when he chose after redistricting to run in the 17th District. Most of the constituents there have been represented by Rep. Mondaire Jones — but that’s where Maloney’s home is also located, along with a portion of his current seat. The left-wing Working Families Party switched its endorsement from Maloney to Biaggi after the move. Biaggi has also picked up a nod from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


But Biaggi has so far been unable to transform that support into a lead. Maloney has significantly more cash on hand than Biaggi and touted support from more than 75 current and former Democratic officials, labor unions, local committees and other groups.

One wild card: Low turnout in New York’s Aug. 23 primary could have an unpredictable impact and may benefit Biaggi, as it has helped other insurgents in past Democratic primaries. Biaggi defeated another powerful and well-financed incumbent — then-state Sen. Jeff Klein, the leader of a group of breakway Democrats who sided with Republicans in the state legislature — in a 2018 Democratic primary.

Both campaigns believe a large number of the district’s Democrats are still undecided voters: 30 percent according to Maloney’s pollster, 45 percent according to Biaggi’s.

The Global Strategy Group conducted its survey on behalf of Maloney’s campaign from July 11-14 of 233 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.4 percent. The Justice Research Group and ROS Research’s poll, done for Biaggi and the Working Families Party, surveyed roughly 400 likely voters from July 1-11, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

In a statement, Biaggi said that “New Yorkers are tired of corporate politicians who put their campaign donors ahead of working people. While Sean Patrick Maloney takes millions from Wall Street, big oil and the pharmaceutical industry, and then votes to water down Obamacare, expand fossil fuels and protect big banks, I don’t take a cent from corporate PACs — because I’m in this to deliver for working families.”

Mia Ehrenberg, a spokeswoman for Maloney, fired back that “Sen. Biaggi’s campaign keeps repeating the same baseless lies about Rep. Maloney because his actual record is so strong that she’s been unable to win over voters by focusing on the issues. The facts are: Rep. Maloney has voted more than a dozen times to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act and he is endorsed by End Citizens United because he’s a champion for getting money out of politics and has always stood up to special interests.”

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