Boylan and Herzog

Lindsey Boylan and Jonathan Herzog, candidates for Congress.

In the 28 years since he was selected to take the place of a candidate who died the day before the Democratic primary, Rep. Jerrold Nadler has faced little resistance to returning to Washington every other January.

There was a primary in 1994 that he won with two thirds of the vote, and another two years later where 83 percent of voters backed Nadler. In a district where winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to election, Nadler didn’t face another intra-party challenge until 2016; that year, nine out of ten votes went his way. No one bothered contesting the nomination in 2018, allowing Nadler to return unobstructed to Washington, where he played a lead role in the impeachment drama.

This year, three Democrats are on the ballot for the June 23 primary in the 10th district, which covers most of the West Side of Manhattan, a sliver of Brooklyn’s shoreline and a chunk of Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Kensington.

Lindsey Boylan, a former Deputy Secretary of Economic Development under Governor Cuomo, has more financial resources–$147,000 on hand at last count, compared with the incumbent’s $957,000. Jonathan Herzog has substantially less money on hand, but is hoping to tap into the energetic support enjoyed by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, for whom Herzog worked.

Both appeared on the WBAI Max & Murphy Show on Wednesday.

Lindsey Boylan, Democrat for Congress

Jonathan Herzog, Democrat for Congress

The two challengers emphasize different policies: Herzog focuses on civil rights, issues around data, electoral reform and the universal basic income. Boylan talks about climate change, housing and immigration. Their critiques of Nadler (who declined an invitation to debate the two) are essentially the same—that time has passed him by, and that he hasn’t accomplished enough in 28 years in office to justify letting him have 30.

Whether the criticism is fair or not—Nadler’s allies would say that his value as a consistent progressive voice cannot be measured merely in the number of bills he passed. On June 23, or more accurately on whatever day the mail-in ballots get counted, Nadler and his rivals will figure out if it sticks.

With reporting by Ben Max and Anika Chowdhury