Field for Maloney’s seat grows as progressives continue coup against ‘establishment’

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New York’s 12th Congressional District, according to Google Maps.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s district has become a more contested battleground as the field of 2020 challengers has widened to a total of three with the addition of Peter Harrison.

The Democratic Socialists of America member is running on a platform to make housing a human right and has worked on the campaign for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as joining in the opposition to Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City.

Harrison joins Erica Vladimer and Lauren Ashcraft in the Democratic primary, more than a year away, against Maloney who has served in Congress since 1993.

Harrison told QNS that he was running simply on the platform that housing should be a human right, and while many contend that this is a local issue, he disagrees.

“This is a national crisis and a national issue,” Harrison said.

Harrison was cautious to claim that his DSA membership would win him an endorsement and support from the party, but said discussions would be held in the fall as to who they would choose to back.

Harrison touts a 10-year record as a housing activist, having stood up for his own rights in housing court when rents were rising in Stuyvesant Town. Claiming to have had the advantage of coming from a middl- class family, Harrison said he saw first-hand what a disadvantage immigrants and poorer tenants faced.

“I was middle class and could fight at housing court, but others including immigrants could not,” Harrison said. “Housing was how I got involved with the DSA.”

Meanwhile, Vladimer told QNS that her values fell into line with the DSA and claimed she would welcome their support as well if they chose to endorse her.

“Demographics are changing. People feel they don’t have a stake and are rising up,” Vladimer said. “[People are] very dissatisfied with a lack of leadership.”
As a former staffer for now-unseated state Senator Jeff Klein, Vladimer made headlines in 2015 speaking out against her boss on sexual assault allegations. After coming to terms with the trauma of her experiences working for Klein, Vladimer said she took a break from working in government until finding the right support groups.
Ashcraft, who lives in LIC, filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission in February and is a Democratic Socialist who vows to reject all corporate and super PAC funds.
With a background as an employee for JP Morgan, Ashcraft is also a comedian.
Maloney’s seat, which covers Long Island City and Astoria, is not the only one attracting competition; Ocasio-Cortez already has seven conservatives looking to make the 28-year-old a one-term congresswoman.