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Hudson Valley News

NY's 18th Congressional District Recap: Maloney Vs. Oliva

With Election Day tomorrow, candidates are running around campaigning and urging people to vote. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne has a recap of the race for New York’s 18th congressional district, where Democratic incumbent Sean Patrick Maloney is running for a third term while Republican Phil Oliva makes his first run for political office.

The 18th district, which includes Orange, Putnam and parts of Dutchess and Westchester counties, is considered a swing district that leans Democratic. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney has survived two tough races, beating former Congresswoman Nan Hayworth in 2012 and winning a rematch in 2014, when the race was even closer. Maloney talks about his approach to his race the third time around.

“Well, look, we feel good but I always run like I’m 20 points behind so we are going to run through the tape, as they say, but I hope that all the work we’ve done has made a difference,” Maloney says. “We’ve passed 23 bills into law. That’s pretty good in a divided Congress. They get our oil trains running safer. They help in this fight for clean water. They help our vets get good jobs and get to college, and a lot of other important things for our farmers and fighting Lyme disease, a lot of the things that are really important here in the Hudson Valley.”

He adds.

“So these are the issues that I hope have allowed me to go to the voters and say I’d like another two-year term on my contract,” Maloney says.

Oliva, who serves as senior advisor to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2014, takes issue with Maloney’s record, alleging the Democrat is telling a tale and has plagiarized two bills. Here’s Maloney.

“Yeah, that’s silly and demonstrably false,” says Maloney. “I don’t know whether he just doesn’t understand it or is misleading people.”

Maloney, who lives in Putnam County, says he is proud of his record. Meanwhile, Oliva explains why he is running.

“I’m running because I think the country’s headed in the wrong direction,” Oliva says.

Oliva says he will vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump but is ready to work with whoever wins the highest office.

“People are going to have to make a decision and if they want an independent voice for the 18th congressional district that will give each president, whoever gets in there, a fair shake, and hold them accountable, work with them depending on what the issue is, I’ll always put the district and the country first,” says Oliva.

Oliva also criticizes Maloney for taking time to rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“Just in the past year he’s campaigned in six states for Hillary Clinton, and that’s fine, but I think we elected him to serve us in Congress, not travel the country campaigning for Hillary,” Oliva says.

This time around, it’s been a stump reversal, of sorts. Maloney has campaigned for Clinton when two years ago it was Clinton who visited Somers, where Oliva lives, to rally for Maloney. Maloney served as senior advisor in the Bill Clinton administration.

“And I think the biggest issue is who’s going to fight for you in Washington,” says Maloney. “There are people down there who just want to fight about nothing but there’s people who want to fight to get things done, and I’m one of those people who works to get results.”

Maloney’s latest web ad features the mother of a fallen Iraq war veteran who praises the congressman for getting things done for veterans. Oliva’s latest ad starts this way.

“Guys like me aren’t supposed to run for Congress. Growing up we were taught there’s no shame in hard work. Never quit. Never make excuses…”

In addition to advocating for limited government, Oliva wants to secure borders and strengthen the economy and national defense.

“No shame in hard work. I’m Phil Oliva. The shame today resides in Washington. They built a massive federal government with regulations that control every aspect of our lives.”

Polls in New York open at 6 a.m.  

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