Today I am ending my campaign
Today I decided to end my campaign. I want to thank every single person who contributed to my campaign through donation, positive support in person or online, and those who volunteered to petition with me. I have decided to end my campaign for a few reasons:
- The new district lines placed me just outside of the district by two blocks.
- From internal polling, I don’t have enough votes to win, but enough to be a ‘spoiler.’
- I don’t make six figures or own stocks as the other candidates do. It’s not easy to run when you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for groceries.
I’m truly grateful to have gone through this process.
I won’t be endorsing any candidate in the 12th District election. It is, of course, up to the voters in the 12th district. I have lived in and around this district for almost 18 years, I deeply care about the most vulnerable people in it, and I have met with and gotten to know the policies of the other candidates. My unsolicited critical assessment? These past primaries have made Rep. Maloney more aware of her policy deficiencies and the district’s eroding support for her. Rep. Maloney continues to prove she lacks cultural competency. Rep. Maloney’s formidable personal wealth makes it that much easier to keep herself in power, and Rep. Maloney is powerful. I believe she works very hard behind the scenes to keep herself in power. I would like to see her use that power more often to aid the most vulnerable. That said, it is clear that she loves her job. If she wins again in 2022, it’s my hope she’ll consider stepping aside for the 2024 election to give the 12th District a real opportunity to elect new federal representation that is culturally competent and will fight for communities pushed furthest to the margins by harmful and/or insufficient federal policy. We have a deep bench of diverse and talented local and state politicians that would do well in that charge.
Regarding the other challengers: I don’t know why Suraj is running. I say this even after meeting with him. He was respectful to me, and I mean no disrespect in these assessments, but Suraj, to me, is a cookie-cutter politician willing to change his narrative and policies any which way that would lead to him being elected. We already have too many elected officials like this, including Rep. Maloney. It’s clear he wants the title of Congressman, but I don’t see that he wants to be in service to the public. The fact that he is advocating for Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS), a relic from the 1994 Crime Bill, is just ludicrous. His Disability Rights and Housing Rights platform is weaker than American tea. His entire policy section website looks like it was written by consultants who’ve never stepped a foot into the 12th district. I want the next representative of the 12th to tailor their policies to the needs of the district. I have yet to see that in Suraj’s policy slate.
I also met with Rana. She truly could not explain to me why she was running for office in the 12th district outside of very scripted talking points. She didn’t seem to have a grasp on who the most vulnerable are in the district. She said to me, “This is one of the wealthiest districts in the country.” I said, “Rana, it’s one of the most unequal districts in the country.” She had a difficult time admitting to me that she never grew up on any Federal assistance. It took three times for her to admit to me she never lived on Food Stamps. Why? Why pretend you grew up financially struggling if you didn’t? Her policies are also clearly written by consultants who do not know 1 in 4 New Yorkers are disabled. The Justice Democrats, who drafted Rana, are a multimillion-dollar organization that operates more like a marketing firm than a grassroots organization. They’re using the exact same patriarchal and pedagogical structures that the DCCC, DSCC, and DNC use. (By the way, DCCC, DSCC, and DNC — you all need to change these approaches immediately.) The Justice Dems are just old establishment in new establishment clothing. They rake in millions from around the country and hire PR firms to attack candidates like me, a person of no wealth or power, while crafting sellable stories about their clients by erasing their old social media pages. Not erasing an old tweet or two, but an entire social media profile. That’s not grassroots stuff. That’s not transparency. That’s marketing. We need more authenticity in public service.
That said, I don’t blame any Black or Latina candidates for accepting backing from orgs like Justice Dems or their multiple satellite organizations (Brand New Congress, Sunrise Movement, Our Revolution, etc). Why? Because there aren’t enough organizations that truly financially aid Black female candidates, Black queer candidates, Black disabled candidates, etc. Legacy media is largely uninterested in us unless we are an incumbent or associated with the Justice Dems. Legacy media doesn’t know how to categorize us outside of that frame. I have found that most low-income Black and Latina candidates unless they are incumbents, are largely on our own. Unfortunately, in most cases, you need a modicum of personal wealth and financial infrastructure to successfully run for office, and currently, many Black and Latina candidates don’t have access to that. If we truly believed in campaign finance reform, perhaps that would be different. There are just too many companies and consultants that make money off of campaigns, and it’s one of the reasons why there isn’t really a strong desire for campaign finance reform.
Regarding Maud Maron. I don’t regard Maud Maron.
All that said, I love my district. I know the people in it, and I truly care about them — especially those most harmed by our country’s bad policies. That’s why I was running. I wasn’t running to make a name for myself or to attain power. I mean, seriously, look at my life’s trajectory. It’s been mostly about survival. I just wanted to do the most good for the most people I could. I wanted to create and support policies that protect the most vulnerable who live under the weight of decades of bad policy and who are largely sidelined by our elected officials.
I want to thank my husband, Bobby Crace, for truly supporting me 24/7. We lived off of his bartending since declaring my run. Like too many people in the country, we live paycheck to paycheck. Bobby sacrificed his writing time and some sleep to make sure my well-being was looked after. I’m thankful for him every day. I look forward to us both getting some much-needed rest. Regardless, I have and will continue to be in service to my community.
Yours in struggle and in joy, Maya Contreras.