Three-time congressional candidate Suraj Patel does not want to see the 12th Congressional District slip out of his grasp yet again.

So, he has been pulling out all the stops and stunts against incumbents Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler.

He’s used an ice cream truck on the campaign trail to highlight inflation and held a news conference in Queens miles away from the Manhattan district he hopes to represent.

What You Need To Know

  • Patel, one of the 12th Congressional District challengers, is running for the third time

  • He has been broadening his outreach in hopes to appeal to bigger swath of voters

  • Maloney and Nadler have said they would prefer each other over Patel

“I came out here to accept the endorsement of the Asian American Voters Alliance,” Patel told NY1. “There are 28,000 registered Democratic Asian American voters in NY-12.”

Patel is an attorney, professor and former President Barack Obama aide who came within four percentage points of defeating Maloney in 2020.

His case now, as it was then, is for generational change.

“I’m the candidate talking about the next decade,” he said.

Patel is insistent that this time, even with two House heavyweights in the race, he can pull off a win.

“We are not just mobilizing young voters,” Patel continued. “We have voters of every single age group and demographic flipping to us right now.”

In broadening his appeal, Patel has spoken Spanish and quoted Scripture in the first minutes of a debate, made himself very visible in the district and intensified his social media outreach.

In leveraging all he can against Maloney and Nadler, the 38-year-old has accused the 76- and 75-year-olds of both ageism and undermining their party after their reluctance at NY1’s debate to say President Joe Biden should run for re-election.

In his newest digital advertisement, a narrator says, “Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney just gave Republicans a huge gift for the midterms.”

Maloney and Nadler cannot match Patel’s energy on the campaign trail, along with his strong fundraising and detailed policy proposals.

But the incumbents have loyal bases of support and they have each other’s backs more than his.

Patel asked Nadler earlier this month at the NY1 debate why he had once endorsed Maloney.

“Because in a contest between you and her, I frankly thought she was the better candidate,” Nadler said.

“What about now?” Patel asked of the current race.

“I still think so,” Nadler responded.

“The fact that the two incumbents would prefer one another just proves my point that they think everything is just fine in Washington and they think they’re being effective at fighting Republicanism,” Patel said Wednesday.

He also makes no apologies about going big.

“You talk to any child out there in the world. Ice cream is not a gimmick. It’s awesome,” he said. “But also, it is how badly we want it. We are fighting.”