Sean Patrick Maloney

Sean Patrick Maloney (born July 30, 1966) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York's 18th congressional district. His district includes Newburgh, Beacon and Poughkeepsie. A member of the Democratic Party, Maloney ran for New York Attorney General in 2018, losing to Letitia James in the primary.

Sean Patrick Maloney
Congressman Maloney official.jpg
Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
LeaderNancy Pelosi
Preceded byCheri Bustos
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byNan Hayworth (Redistricting)
White House Staff Secretary
In office
September 14, 1999 – January 20, 2000
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byPhillip Caplan
Succeeded byLisel Loy
Personal details
Born (1966-07-30) July 30, 1966 (age 55)
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
CitizenshipCanada, United States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Randy Florke
(m. 2014)
Children3
EducationUniversity of Virginia (BA, JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, and raised in Hanover, New Hampshire, Maloney earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. He entered politics as a volunteer for Bill Clinton's presidential campaigns, and later served as his senior West Wing adviser and White House Staff Secretary.

Before being elected to Congress, Maloney worked as a software company executive and as an attorney. He was elected to the U.S. House in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth. He campaigned as a moderate and is a member of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.[1][2] He is the first openly gay person elected to Congress from New York. He has served as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since 2021.

Early lifeEdit

Maloney was born on July 30, 1966, in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, to parents with U.S. citizenship.[3] His father's job as a lumberjack had temporarily brought them to Canada. Maloney grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was raised with his six siblings in what he describes as a "small Irish Catholic family".[4][5] Maloney graduated from Hanover High School in 1984.[6]

After attending Georgetown University for two years, Maloney transferred to the University of Virginia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations in 1988.[5] He then spent a year volunteering with Jesuit priests in the slums of Chimbote, Peru,[3][4] after which he returned to the U.S. and attended the University of Virginia School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 1992.[4]

Early political careerEdit

Clinton administrationEdit

In 1991, Maloney began working on Bill Clinton's first campaign for president as deputy to chief scheduler Susan Thomases. In Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign Maloney worked as Director of Surrogate Travel.[5] After Clinton was reelected, Maloney was offered a position in the White House staff and served as a senior advisor and White House Staff Secretary from 1999 to 2000, among the youngest to serve in that capacity.[7][8] At a campaign event Clinton said that Maloney worked closely with him.[9]

Following the killing of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, Maloney was one of two representatives Clinton sent to his funeral. In an article about the event, a newspaper noted that Maloney often called himself "the highest-ranking openly homosexual man on the White House staff".[4][7]

2006 Attorney General electionEdit

Maloney ran for the Democratic nomination for New York Attorney General in 2006. According to Gay City News, his "competitive fundraising and wide travels across the state during the past year have impressed many party professionals with the seriousness of his run."[10][11] During the campaign, Maloney was endorsed by the New-York-state-based gay rights organization Empire State Pride Agenda and Karen Burstein, the first lesbian to run for attorney general, in 1994.[12]

Consistently polling in the single digits, Maloney was offered a chance to run for the office on the Liberal Party ticket, but declined, saying he would support whoever won the Democratic nomination.[13] Maloney finished third in the September 12 primary, with 9.4% of the vote. Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo won. In his concession speech, Maloney said, "this day may not be the outcome we hope, but I make you a promise that there will be another day."[14]

Secretary to the GovernorEdit

Maloney joined Governor Eliot Spitzer's administration in January 2007 as First Deputy Secretary under top adviser Rich Baum.[15]

The Eliot Spitzer political surveillance controversy (popularly known as "Troopergate") broke out on July 23, 2007, when Cuomo's office admonished Spitzer's administration for ordering the State Police to create special records of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's whereabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City.[16] A New York Times editorial suggested that Maloney might have been involved by withholding emails during the investigation,[17] and the Times endorsed Maloney's 2012 election opponent because of its concerns about Maloney's handling of the investigation.[18] The Wall Street Journal wrote in July 2012, "generally, those involved in the investigation on both sides defend Mr. Maloney's conduct. Mr. Cuomo's chief of staff at the time, Steve Cohen, called the idea that Mr. Maloney got in the way of the Attorney General's inquiry 'misinformed to the point of being laughable.'"[19]

Maloney continued in the same role as a top adviser to Governor David Paterson's administration under his top adviser, Charles O'Byrne.[20] While working for Paterson, Maloney worked on Paterson's effort to increase state aid to education.[21] On December 3, 2008, Maloney announced that he would leave Paterson's office to join the law firm Kirkland & Ellis.[22]

Private sectorEdit

From 2000 to 2003, Maloney served as Chief Operating Officer of Kiodex, Inc.[23] He was a senior attorney at the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, during which time he represented the Matthew Shepard Foundation.[24] Maloney became a partner in the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2009. In March 2011 he joined the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a partner.[19]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

ElectionsEdit

 
Maloney campaigning in Walden
2012

In March 2012, Maloney announced his intention to run for Congress in the 18th district. The district had previously been the 19th, represented by freshman Republican Nan Hayworth. Maloney won the Democratic primary on June 26 with 48% of the vote against four other challengers.[25] In addition to the Democratic Party line, Maloney also ran on the Working Families Party ticket with New York's fusion voting.[26]

Maloney drew criticism for buying a house in Cold Spring before the election, never having previously lived in the district.[27] On June 11, Bill Clinton endorsed Maloney, saying "I support Sean because I know he'll be an outstanding member of Congress."[28] On October 21, The New York Times endorsed Maloney, writing that his opponent "has favored limiting contraception coverage for employees and voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Mr. Maloney promises to support health care reform, help the middle class and oppose tax cuts for the rich. We recommend Mr. Maloney."[29] Maloney also was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the AFL-CIO and New York State United Teachers Union.[30][31]

In the general election Maloney campaigned as a moderate[1][32] and defeated Hayworth 52%–48%. In his victory speech, Maloney said, "I think people want change in Washington. They're tired of the fighting and the bickering."[33] Maloney is New York's first openly gay member of Congress.[34]

2014

Maloney ran for reelection in 2014, again facing Hayworth.[35][36] He was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program, designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the 2014 election.[37] Maloney lost the Independence Party primary to Hayworth, but defeated her in the general election by under 3,000 votes, with 84,415 votes (47.58%) to Hayworth's 81,625 (46.01%).[38]

2016

Maloney ran for reelection in 2016. Fellow Democrat Diana Hird announced her intention to challenge him in the primary election on June 28, 2016, but failed to obtain the necessary number of signatures and file a petition to get on the ballot in time.[39][40][41] Maloney handily defeated Republican Phil Oliva, with 162,060 votes (55.6%) to Oliva's 129,369 (44.4%).[42]

2018

In June 2018, Maloney became the Democratic nominee for reelection to the House. He was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for attorney general of New York but lost the primary. He had said that, had he won the primary, he would have run for attorney general and relinquished the nomination for the House.[43]

In the Democratic primary for attorney general, Maloney finished third. New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who was endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, won.[44] Zephyr Teachout, a law professor endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders[45] and The New York Times, finished second.[46] Maloney was endorsed by Beto O'Rourke, among other public figures.[47]

Remaining on the ballot for the House election, Maloney defeated Republican James O'Donnell, an Orange County legislator,[48] with 139,564 votes (55.5%) to O'Donnell's 112,035 (44.5%).[49]

2020Edit

Maloney was reelected in 2020, with 54.8% of the vote to Republican nominee Chele Farley's 43.2%.[50] On the day Maloney began his new term in Congress, January 3, 2021, he became chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.[51]

TenureEdit

On January 3, 2013, Maloney was sworn into the 113th United States Congress. On his second day in office, he spoke on the House floor, criticizing a delay in federal Hurricane Sandy aid, and urging House Speaker John Boehner and his colleagues to pass an aid package.[52]

After joining the "No Labels" Problem Solvers Caucus, Maloney supported the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013".[53] Leading up to the 2013 government shutdown, he faced criticism for voting with Republicans to pass a budget that included provisions delaying the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. His vote drew the ire of LGBT groups, some accusing him of being a "Democrat In Name Only" ("DINO").[54] He has been an outspoken critic of sequestration and the harmful effects it would have on the United States Military Academy at West Point, and sent President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel a letter asking for flexibility in his district.[55] During the shutdown Maloney requested that his pay be withheld in solidarity with federal workers.[56]

In April of his first year in office, Maloney introduced the Creating Reliability for Our Producers Act, the Dam Safety Act, and the Disabled Veterans Red Tape Reduction Act.[57] In October 2013, the House passed the Disabled Veterans Red Tape Reduction Act with near unanimous support. The bill would allow disabled veterans to have their medical examinations performed by physicians outside the Veterans Affairs system.[58]

In July 2013, Maloney voted against the Farm Bill. The bill failed in the House due largely to the votes of eight Democratic House members who joined the Republican majority.[59]

On banking issues, Maloney voted in 2014 to repeal the section of Dodd-Frank that would prevent bank bailouts by the public.[60] He voted for the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act in 2018;[61] Elizabeth Warren nicknamed this bill the "Bank Lobbyist Act".[62] Maloney called one opponent's characterization of the latter vote "unhinged", which earned him a rebuke for making remarks that could be considered sexist.[63]

An issue in Maloney's first campaign for Congress was whether the candidates would vote to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); Hayworth was considered more progressive on gay rights than most Republicans, but did not explicitly say whether she would vote to repeal, saying her belief that the New York law allowing same-sex marriage made it a settled issue, for which Maloney criticized her.[34] After the Supreme Court struck down provisions of DOMA, Maloney said at a press conference that he was "no longer seen as less-than in the eyes of my country",[64] having previously faced discrimination in the House, with his partner not eligible for benefits while members' opposite-sex partners were.[65]

On April 10, 2014, Maloney introduced the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 4449; 113th Congress), a bill that would require regular training and briefings for some federal government personnel to raise awareness of human trafficking and help employees spot cases of it.[66][67] The bill passed the House on July 23, 2014.[68]

In July 2014, the FAA began an investigation into whether unmanned aircraft used for Maloney's wedding violated the agency's ban on drone flights. A spokesman for Maloney, who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA, acknowledged that drones were hired.[69][70][71]

Maloney positioned himself as an opponent of President Donald Trump and his agenda, voting in support of that agenda 23.3% of the time as of December 2019.[72] When that number was initially higher, he referred to that statistic as a "bullshit metric".[73] As of September 2021, Maloney had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[74]

In 2021, Maloney became the first openly gay person to be elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.[75]

Committee assignments[51]Edit

Caucus memberships[76]Edit

Personal lifeEdit

Maloney has been with his husband Randy Florke since 1992, when they met in New York City, where Maloney was helping plan the Democratic National Convention. They have adopted three children.[4] Florke is an interior decorator who has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine.[83] Maloney and his family live in Cold Spring, New York. Maloney and Florke became engaged on December 25, 2013.[84] They married in Cold Spring on June 21, 2014.[85] Maloney became the second member of Congress to legally marry his same-sex partner while in office, the first being former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank in 2012.[86]

Electoral historyEdit

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

New York's 18th congressional district, 2012 Democratic primary[87]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 7,493 48.22%
Democratic Richard H. Becker 5,036 32.44%
Democratic Matthew C. Alexander 1,857 11.96%
Democratic Duane Jackson 780 5.03%
Democratic Thomas Wilson 356 2.29%
Total votes 15,522 100.0%
New York's 18th congressional district, 2012 general election[88]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 132,456 47.84%
Working Families Sean Patrick Maloney 11,389 4.11%
Total Sean Patrick Maloney 143,845 51.95%
Republican Nan Hayworth 113,386 40.95%
Conservative Nan Hayworth 19,663 7.10%
Total Nan Hayworth (incumbent) 133,049 48.05%
Total votes 276,894 100.0%
Democratic gain from Republican
New York's 18th congressional district, 2014 Independence primary[89]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independence Nan Hayworth 780 53.35%
Independence Sean Patrick Maloney (incumbent) 682 46.65%
Total votes 1,462 100.0%
New York's 18th congressional district, 2014 general election[90]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 76,235 42.60%
Working Families Sean Patrick Maloney 12,758 7.13%
Total Sean Patrick Maloney (incumbent) 88,993 49.73%
Republican Nan Hayworth 66,523 37.17%
Conservative Nan Hayworth 15,714 8.78%
Independence Nan Hayworth 3,423 1.91%
Total Nan Hayworth 85,660 47.87%
Independent Scott A. Smith 4,294 2.40%
Total votes 178,947 100.0%
Democratic hold
New York's 18th congressional district, 2016 general election[91]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 140,951 48.37%
Independence Sean Patrick Maloney 10,356 3.55%
Working Families Sean Patrick Maloney 8,771 3.01%
Women's Equality Sean Patrick Maloney 1,982 0.68%
Total Sean Patrick Maloney (incumbent) 162,060 55.61%
Republican Phil Oliva 111,117 38.13%
Conservative Phil Oliva 16,968 5.82%
Reform Phil Oliva 1,284 0.44%
Total Phil Oliva 129,369 44.39%
Total votes 291,429 100.0%
Democratic hold
New York's 18th congressional district, 2018 general election[92]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 126,368 50.23%
Independence Sean Patrick Maloney 7,726 3.07%
Working Families Sean Patrick Maloney 3,929 1.56%
Women's Equality Sean Patrick Maloney 1,541 0.61%
Total Sean Patrick Maloney (incumbent) 139,564 55.47%
Republican James O'Donnell 96,345 38.29%
Conservative James O'Donnell 14,484 5.76%
Reform James O'Donnell 1,206 0.48%
Total James O'Donnell 112,035 44.53%
Total votes 251,599 100.0%
Democratic hold
New York's 18th congressional district, 2020 general election[93]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 170,899 50.95%
Working Families Sean Patrick Maloney 12,914 3.85%
Independence Sean Patrick Maloney 3,356 1.00%
Total Sean Patrick Maloney (incumbent) 187,169 55.80%
Republican Chele Farley 128,568 38.33%
Conservative Chele Farley 16,530 4.93%
Total Chele Farley 145,098 43.26%
Libertarian Scott Smith 2,686 0.80%
SAM Scott Smith 476 0.14%
Total Scott Smith 3,162 0.94%
Total votes 335,429 100.0%
Democratic hold

New York Attorney GeneralEdit

2006 New York Attorney General Democratic primary[94]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Andrew Cuomo 404,086 53.52%
Democratic Mark J. Green 244,554 32.39%
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 70,106 9.29%
Democratic Charlie King 36,262 4.80%
Total votes 755,008 100%
2018 New York Attorney General Democratic Primary[95]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Letitia James 608,308 38.53%
Democratic Zephyr Teachout 468,083 29.65%
Democratic Sean Patrick Maloney 379,099 24.02%
Democratic Leecia Eve 52,367 3.32%
Total votes 1,578,588 100%

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Phillip Caplan
White House Staff Secretary
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Lisel Loy
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nita Lowey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Cheri Bustos
Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
2021–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Alan Lowenthal
United States representatives by seniority
180th
Succeeded by
Grace Meng