State Sen. Biaggi shifts congressional run north to newly drawn 17th District that doesn’t include Pelham

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State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi launched a primary campaign Tuesday to represent the new 17th Congressional District, shifting her efforts further north in the Hudson Valley after previously campaigning along the Sound Shore area in a district that was included in the state’s first effort at drawing new congressional maps. The Democrat’s new target district does not include Pelham.

Biaggi made the change after the conclusion of a contentious redistricting process, which saw state government-approved congressional and state senate maps thrown out by a court and replaced by maps drawn by a court-appointed official.

The new redrawn 17th District map includes most of northern Westchester, all of Rockland and Putnam and parts of Dutchess counties.

Biaggi grew up in Pelham and is a  Pelham Memorial High School graduate.

The release of the finalized maps on Friday triggered a round of musical chairs among Democrats across the downstate region as candidates decided which district they would run in. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and incumbent in the old 18th District, announced last week he would run in the newly formed 17th District, which was mostly represented by Rep. Mondaire Jones under the old maps.

Maloney’s move was criticized by many, including Biaggi and incumbent Rep. Ritchie Torres, over concerns it could create a member-on-member primary in the 16th or 17th Districts. Just days later, Jones said he would run in the new New York City-based 10th District, facing off against a wide field including former New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and progressive Assemblywoman Yuh Line-Niou.

Biaggi’s campaign likely faces difficulties typical to taking on the incumbent in a primary, though she has faced such challenges before. In her first campaign for elected office, she took on entrenched incumbent State Sen. Jeffrey Klein in 2018, defeating him in the primary and going on to win the general election handily. This cycle, she faces the added complications of Maloney’s senior status in the party, as well as the fact that he lives in and has represented parts of the district previously, while Biaggi does not live in the district and her current state senate district does not include any of the new 17th Congressional.

The new map keeps Pelham in the 16th District, currently represented by Jamaal Bowman, and includes much of southern Westchester County and a small section of the Bronx. The 17th district is further north and encompasses most of northern Westchester, all of Rockland and Putnam and parts of Dutchess counties.

The New York primaries for congressional and state senate seats will be held Aug. 23, after being moved from June because of the rewriting of the district maps.