You are reading

BOE Keeps Patel in Congressional Race Despite Abdelhamid’s Attempt to Knock Him Off Ballot

Suraj Patel and Rana Abdelhamid, candidates for Congressional District 12 (Suraj Patel for Congress & Rana Abdelhamid for Congress)

April 28, 2022 By Allie Griffin

Suraj Patel who is running to represent the 12th Congressional District will remain on the ballot despite an attempt by an opposing candidate to kick him out of the race.

Rana Abdelhamid, who is also running for the seat, called for him to be tossed out of the race on the basis that the required signatures he collected to get on the ballot were invalid. She challenged their validity with the Board of Elections and filed a lawsuit in state court.

The Board of Elections ruled that Patel had met the required number of signatures race despite Abdelhamid’s objections.

Patel and Abdelhamid are two progressives hoping to beat incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney to represent parts of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

Patel submitted a petition with 3,217 signatures, well over the 1,250 signatures required in order to get on the ballot for a Congressional seat. However, Abdelhamid argued that 2,091 were invalid — leaving him 124 signatures short of the requirement.

Abdelhamid and her campaign claimed that the majority of the 2,091 New Yorkers who signed Patel’s petition weren’t registered to vote or lived outside District 12. Others, they argued, were not registered Democrats.

However, the BOE determined that Patel — who is vying for the seat for a third time — had enough valid signatures to be in the primary.

Abdelhamid’s lawsuit was also rejected by a New York Supreme Court judge — although it had nothing to do with the validity of the signatures. The judge dismissed the case due to the uncertainty of the upcoming primaries, stemming from a Court of Appeals ruling that called for the electoral maps to be redrawn.

Patel’s campaign denounced Abdelhamid’s attempt to disqualify him as “desperate”, “undemocratic” and “dirty” and accused her of “Trumpian voter suppression tactics”.

“The efforts we saw this week by Rana Abdelhamid’s campaign were nothing more than a desperate, undemocratic attempt to disenfranchise 37,000+ voters who supported Suraj Patel in 2020, and the thousands who signed petitions for him just weeks ago,” Patel’s campaign manager Emmet Werbel said in a statement.

Werbel said Abdelhamid’s campaign was trying to silence the New Yorkers who signed petitions for Patel and claimed the majority of the signatures she challenged were those of Black and brown voters.

“It is unacceptable that any Democrat would try to further erode the bedrock of our democracy by trying to deny voters the ability to elect the change that our campaign represents,” Werbel said. “If you want to win, win at the ballot box through the power of persuasion of your ideas, not by deny [sic] voters a choice.”

Abdelhamid’s campaign, however, told the Queens Post that Patel’s team took short cuts in gathering the signatures—by farming them out to paid canvassers—and that they were within their rights to challenge them.

“The attacks against our campaign are completely baseless, and Suraj Patel should know better than to call a valid challenge to a candidate’s signatures undemocratic,” her campaign manager Ben Shanahan said. “Our team was proud to do the hard-nosed, grassroots work of collecting thousands of signatures from voters in New York’s 12th district”

Her campaign also took exception to being compared to Trump.

“Rana has spent a majority of her life fighting for working class people and people of color in this district,” Shanahan said. “For Suraj Patel to compare the only Muslim woman in this race to the author of the Muslim ban, and someone who has time and time again made racist and derogatory statements against Arab and Muslim communities, is wildly offensive, untrue, and completely unacceptable.”

Her campaign also noted that in 2018 Patel challenged his competitors’ petitions.

For instance, in 2018, he argued that an opposing Democratic candidate, Sander Hicks, had invalid signatures that made him short of the required 1,250, according to the Manhattan publication Town & Village. The court agreed and Hicks was disqualified from the primary for being 110 names short.

The current Congressional District 12 map (left) vs. the invalidated map created via the redistricting. Significant portions of Astoria and Williamsburg had been cut out of the invalidated map. (Source:

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

Abdelhamid is my first choice and Patel is my second. They both represent the working class community very well in this district. We need to elect people who represent our diverse community.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.