Why is Sean Patrick Maloney quiet about Kiryas Joel?
Democratic and incumbent Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney won his 2014 campaign over Republican Nan Hayworth by one of the slimmest margins in the history of this district, and largely the result of the bloc vote of Kiryas Joel. But when questioned about the attempts by Kiryas Joel to annex acreage in Orange County, Maloney has been afraid to take any public position and has ignored or avoided questions.
In a normal election in New York’s 18th Congressional District, the diverse nature of the district means that roughly 4,000 votes swung in either direction will make the difference on whether someone is re-elected, or an incumbent goes down in defeat. It was a costly decision for Nan Hayworth, as she lost by roughly 1,500 votes in 2014 by banking on the support of Kiryas Joel’s bloc vote. When that bloc vote went to Sean Patrick Maloney, Nan found herself scrambling at the last second to muster enough support to win. Without the bloc vote, Hayworth would have held an advantage of over 4,000 votes, demonstrating how politicians view the importance of Kiryas Joel in a close race. And politicians are happy to ignore the concerns of Orange & Putnam counties so they can court that coveted support.
Up to the day before the election, both candidates had based their campaign strategies on receiving that vote.
It’s simply more of the conventional ‘wisdom’ of Washington politicians. And in the case of Sean Patrick Maloney, he is reliant on the advice of his handlers, who have directed him to actively court that vote, something that has twice ensured his election. He doesn’t know any differently. And there’s a good reason for that.
Sean Patrick Maloney: Carpet-bagger Democrat.
Sean Patrick Maloney claims that he hails from Cold Spring in Putnam County. And he may very well live there, but that hasn’t always been the case. Prior to the 2012 election, he was a long-time resident of Manhattan, an area where he would have had no chance of a Congressional seat due to entrenched Democratic Party loyalists. But New York’s 18th Congressional District was vulnerable after the sweep of Congress in 2010 by Republicans. It was very easy for Nan Hayworth to be branded as a “tea party Republican” or “out of touch with Hudson Valley voters”. Voters believed it, not understanding that Sean Patrick Maloney could barely find Orange County on a map, or likely thinking it was in California rather than New York.
Welcome carpet-bagger Sean Patrick Maloney to office. Large thanks to the Kiryas Joel bloc vote that his handlers would insist he not alienate in a divided electoral district.
Where has Sean Patrick Maloney been?
For the past year, Sean Patrick Maloney has been absent to his Hudson Valley constituents except for photo opportunities. That is until the past month when he has scheduled a record three (3) back-to-back telephone town halls. If you hate when telemarketers call you during dinner, you won’t like Sean Patrick Maloney’s calls either, and his office ignores requests to be removed from the call chain.
These aren’t in-person events. By doing this on the phone, Maloney never has to field a question from a constituent or a room of people prepared to address a single topic as he would in an in-person Town Hall within his district. In fact, for all anyone knows, Sean Patrick Maloney could easily be on a beach in the Caribbean while answering to the pre-selected — or pre-screened — questions. These are purely scripted exchanges where Maloney can screen and select softball questions that his handlers have deemed “safe” or “non-controversial”, lest he alienate the Kiryas Joel constituents he has made it a point to covet.
How do we know this?
Several people with whom this website has spoken about these Town Halls have requested to ask questions to the Congressman on the Kiryas Joel annexation issues. Those people have reported either being disconnected from the call, or have received answers from screeners asking what the annexation issue is, and have denied the question when the words Kiryas Joel were mentioned.
Sean Patrick Maloney: Puppet for Kiryas Joel’s Political Elite.
Sean Patrick Maloney has clearly cut his deal with the bloc vote, and will not discuss it in any way, nor will he publicly go on record with any position not previously cleared with his handlers or Kiryas Joel political leaders. Ducking the issue is his strategy. What he fails to understand are the ramifications of his position on both the Hudson Valley, and how out-of-touch he truly is with his electoral base. In courting the favor of roughly 22,000 residents, of whom about 8,000 can vote, he ignores the larger constituency of nearly 700,000 other constituents in his district. Simply put, he cares about the swing votes that could go either way depending on what has been promised them. And getting that swing vote means making very concrete promises that benefit only that community.
Past examples have included sweetheart deals for Yeshiva tax-breaks, federal grant monies for individual projects that may come to completion (or often do not), or any number of tangible pork projects specific to Kiryas Joel. So when Sean Patrick Maloney brings the pork back to his district, he makes sure that it’s targeted for KJ’s interests. It also sends his constituents a larger message:
Sean Patrick Maloney is out-of-touch with his district.
The most recent election in Monroe’s shown the power of a much larger constituency than Kiryas Joel, and has demonstrated that the competing voting factions in Kiryas Joel do not always support the same candidates. The 2015 local elections showed that the incumbent elected four years earlier by the KJ-bloc was defeated by a 2:1 margin by candidates supported by the smaller of the two KJ voting groups and an overwhelming plurality of the Town of Monroe. The previous year, a 3rd party candidate on an independent line garnered over 9,000 votes in an election for State Assembly by taking a direct stance of not supporting the Kiryas Joel annexation. It was a message heard loud-and-clear by the newly elected State Assembly representative who has backed away from his prior bloc-vote support. In fact, excluding the Kiryas Joel bloc votes, that third-party candidate would have won that election, further demonstrating the power that the bloc vote can yield. But it also demonstrated the sentiment of Orange County who is tired of politics-as-usual.
So goes Orange County, so goes the political landscape.
No secret that Kiryas Joel has controlled politics in the region for some time. And there’s no dispute over their rights to vote as they wish, that usually being in a bloc-vote for a single candidate. The larger reality is that political landscape is changing, and courting the so-called bloc vote in KJ no longer is a guarantee that 7,000 votes are guaranteed to a candidate. There are more bloc-votes to be had in the Town of Monroe outside Kiryas Joel, and that support is growing to encompass Orange County as they realize the detriment that a larger Kiryas Joel brings to the political landscape. But no one has broken from the conventional wisdom in fear of alienating that vote.
Sean Patrick Maloney needs to be worried as people begin to see him as a carpet-bagging opportunist who simply wants re-election, and will pander to Kiryas Joel before addressing the concerns among the rest of his district. And he is fearing a formidable Republican challenger who understands that landscape better and knows the issues concerning Orange & Putnam counties.
Dan Castricone has filed as a candidate for Republican nomination for the 18th Congressional District of New York. He has stood up and addressed the concerns many have over an expanding Kiryas Joel, the environmental concerns, the lack of accountable government, and other issues that are unique to this area. And already, he has the backing of United Monroe in his quest, an endorsement that carries as large and perhaps a larger constituent group than both Kiryas Joel voting factions combined. It probably explains why Sean Patrick Maloney is running scared, and has quickly scheduled the three (3) teleconferences to give the appearance of being in touch with his district.
But we all know the difference between appearance and reality. The reality is that he has never been in touch with his district. And given his Manhattan roots, his ties to the Hudson Valley are symbolic at best.
In 2016, ask yourself the question: Do you want a Congressional Representative that represents you, or one that represents Kiryas Joel first? You’ve now had 3 years of Sean Patrick Maloney providing the first and “phoning it in”. It’s time for someone who wants to physically visit Monroe or Port Jervis or Mahopac, rather than only Kiryas Joel, and hear unfiltered public feedback in person.
This website is supporting Dan Castricone. We urge others to send a clear message to Sean Patrick Maloney. It’s not about appearances. It’s about actions.