The New York Primary Being Watched by A.O.C., Pelosi and the Clintons | Big Indy News
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The New York Primary Being Watched by A.O.C., Pelosi and the Clintons



SHRUB OAK, N.Y. — Less than three months before the November midterm elections, the man tasked with protecting the imperiled Democratic House majority was contemplating a more immediate challenge: securing his own political survival in a primary contest this week.

“How am I doing on the vote?” Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York asked a voter as he worked a barbecue here last Wednesday afternoon, dousing a hot dog in mustard and relish and commiserating with older attendees about impatiently awaiting the birth of grandchildren.

“I see your commercial every 10 seconds,” the voter told him.

New York’s tumultuous primary season, which draws to a close on Tuesday, has no shortage of hard-fought, high-drama contests. But because of Mr. Maloney’s standing as the chair of the House Democratic campaign arm — and given the cast of prominent politicians who have gotten involved in the race — perhaps no New York primary is of greater national consequence than the battle for the newly redrawn 17th District, which includes parts of Westchester County and the Hudson Valley.

By every standard metric — fund-raising, television presence, available polling, endorsements and the assessments of several local elected officials — Mr. Maloney heads into Primary Day with a strong advantage. But New Yorkers are unaccustomed to voting in August, and low-turnout elections can be especially unpredictable.

On the ground, it is apparent that a contested race shaped by ideological, generational and stylistic tensions is underway. The winner is expected to face a competitive general election challenge from emboldened Republicans this fall.

“Maloney might be more of my choice just because I’m a fan of Bill’s,” said Tim Duch, 71, referencing the former president whose Chappaqua home is in the new district (Hillary Clinton, who helped lead Ms. Biaggi’s wedding ceremony, has stayed on the sidelines). Nodding to Mr. Clinton’s comment that Mr. Maloney has won competitive races, he added, “I think that’s what Bill Clinton was saying, that he’s more winnable.”

Mr. Duch was standing outside a bookstore on Tarrytown’s cafe-lined Main Street with his wife, Lee Eiferman, on Wednesday morning when Ms. Biaggi walked by.

“Energy,” Ms. Eiferman, 68, observed after Ms. Biaggi greeted them effusively. Referencing criticism she had heard about Ms. Biaggi concerning her law enforcement stance, Ms. Eiferman added: “She’s for women’s issues, and everything that she’s getting shish-kebabbed on, I’d say bring it on.”

The contours of the race were set in motion after a messy redistricting process this spring that split Mr. Maloney’s current district in two. Instead of running for a reconfigured version of his current seat, Mr. Maloney opted to contest a slightly more Democratic-leaning district now represented by a Black Democrat, Mondaire Jones, who aligns with the party’s progressive wing.

Though Mr. Maloney noted that his Cold Spring home was within the new lines, it set off a nasty brawl. Furious colleagues cast it as a power grab, and Mr. Jones ended up packing his bags for New York City, where sparse public polling now shows him trailing in a race for an open House seat there.

Mr. Maloney has acknowledged that he could have handled the process better, and a number of lawmakers who sharply criticized him at the time no longer appear interested in discussing the subject.

But Mr. Maloney, 56, has long been regarded as an ambitious political operator, and some hard feelings remain.

National tensions were compounded when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee elevated a far-right candidate in a Republican primary in Michigan, a move that was sharply criticized by many as hypocritical and dangerous. (Mr. Maloney has defended it by noting his party’s improved prospects in the general election there.)

Ms. Biaggi, 36, has seized on both dynamics to lash Mr. Maloney as a notably self-interested politician who does not grasp the urgency of the moment.

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We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

“He’s a corporate Democrat with no integrity — let me actually, let me amend that — he’s a selfish corporate Democrat with no integrity,” she said over coffee in Tarrytown, not far from her new home in North Castle (she grew up in Westchester but recently moved to the newly configured district). “He’s not really thinking about the broader team.”

Voters, she said, want a fighter whose first instinct in the wake of seismic events like the overturning of Roe v. Wade is not to send fund-raising emails — a criticism leveled by other Democrats who thought the party was ill-prepared to respond after the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The person who can make the strongest case is the person who doesn’t embody everything that people hate about politics,” she said, referring to the candidates’ general election prospects. Both of them talk about how best to engage working people.

Mr. Maloney, for his part, also says that he is a pragmatic, “hometown guy” with a record of delivering for the region while managing his D.C.C.C. duties, noting the committee’s fund-raising efforts and the signs of an improving political environment. He attended a major donor retreat in Napa County, Calif., this weekend to raise money for House Democrats, a D.C.C.C. spokesman confirmed.

In an interview in which he repeatedly muttered about his disdain for Twitter, the congressman dismissed Ms. Biaggi’s criticism as “desperate rhetoric” and the hallmark of a “failing” campaign that he suggested was out of step with what will be a politically competitive district in November.

“If you look around the country, I think what’s clear is that the common-sense wing of the Democratic Party that is focused on working with people to get things done is on the rise, and the socialist wing is on the decline and it’s about time,” he said.

Asked if he considered Ms. Biaggi part of the “socialist wing” of the party, Mr. Maloney cited her past criticism of law enforcement as “absolutely outside the mainstream.” Ms. Biaggi does not identify as a democratic socialist and has stopped using the phrase “defund the police.”

Some of her past remarks have become an issue in the campaign anyway, particularly as outside money has poured in against her from groups including the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which endorsed former President Donald J. Trump in 2020.

Inara de Leon, a former TV news producer from Chappaqua, said she was aware of the knocks against Mr. Maloney — but they paled next to her concerns about some of Ms. Biaggi’s progressive views and her confrontational style. She specifically cited a mailer she had received amplifying a Twitter post Ms. Biaggi wrote in July asking, “When a majority of Congress is past childbearing age, how fierce can we expect their fight to be?”

“I’ve had children, and I know I’m just as feisty now as I was then,” said Ms. de Leon, 71. “I’m not sure I want to add another person like that to that end of the Democratic Party.”

Ms. Biaggi, a granddaughter of the late congressman Mario Biaggi, has emerged as a state leader of the progressive movement. But after spending months running in a different part of the region before the redistricting shuffle, she has had limited time to introduce herself to voters.

Even some Democrats who vocally championed her entry into the primary have turned their attention elsewhere: A spokeswoman for Representative Jamaal Bowman, Democrat of New York, declined to comment on the story and said he was focused on his own race.

Ms. Biaggi said she was “organizing the heck” out of the district. She has not aired ads on television but has pursued an active mail program. Both campaigns claim extensive direct voter contact efforts.

As for the tweet Ms. de Leon cited, Ms. Biaggi said that it was referencing “the fact that the generation above us has been in office for a long time. They have failed at the federal level to protect abortion rights. And when Roe was overturned, they sent fund-raising emails. No urgency.”

On the ground, there are signs of generational divisions.

“I’m inspired by her energy,” said Emily Marsh, 32, of Cold Spring. “It’s really cool that she’s around my age.”

Mr. Maloney used his time in the district on Wednesday to herald the legislative momentum Democrats are now enjoying. He held an event touting the climate, tax and health care package that President Biden recently signed into law. And at the barbecue, he discussed with older voters how the measure would affect prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare.

“Seniors is the most important thing,” said Billie Desisto, 81, in a Bronx accent. “If Maloney takes care of us, we take care of him.”

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The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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