By Gabriela Resto-Montero
UPPER EAST SIDE — After months of hearing from incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney and her challenger for the East Side congressional seat, Reshma Saujani, voters finally got to have their say on primary day. And they said they wanted the incumbent for another term.
“I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming show of support from voters from every corner of the district," Maloney said in a statement.
Saujani, speaking at a campaign event in Midtown, said that despite the loss, "today was the best day of my life."
"The problem with politicians is they run, they lose, they leave. I don't plan on leaving," Saujani said. "I don't want any person in this room to think that just because we didn't win today, we won't tomorrow.... We ran against the establishment and we did what nobody thought we should do."
Earlier in the day at the 92nd Street Y, the congresswoman's record representing District 14 in Washington inspired loyalty from several voters.
"I love Carolyn Maloney, she's done a lot of good for us," said Ann Scharffenberger, an Upper East Side copywriter.
"I think that's why a lot of people are here," Scharffenberger said as a steady stream of residents filled the polling site.
Over her 18 years in the House, Maloney has earned seniority and currently serves as the chair of the Joint Economic Committee, a key assignment for some voters.
"My biggest concern is that with her years in Congress, she can still — I hate to say this — bring home the bacon," said Chris O'Leary, 28, a resident of East 12th Street who voted at the Sirovich Senior Center in the East Village.
Maloney's connections in Washington could bring federal funding to projects like the Second Avenue subway, O'Leary said.
But farther downtown, away from Maloney's base in the "silk stockings district" of the Upper East Side, some voters had displayed support for Saujani, a former hedge fund lawyer.
"I kind of like that Saujani went after Maloney's questionable campaign finance endeavors," said Meredith Shaller-Cardali, 31, of accusations that Maloney engaged in campaign fundraising activities with financial industry lobbyists while working on the financial services reform bill.
"In these times, I think it's important for our candidates to be on the up and up," said Shaller-Cardali, a teacher who voted at a Stuyvesant Town poll station.
Given the recession and prevalent anti-incumbent sentiment, Saujani's argument that East Siders need new blood in Washington was convincing, said James Condon, 58, who said he once worked with Maloney in an earlier campaign.
"I've known Carolyn Maloney for a long time," said Condon, who lives and voted in Stuyvesant Town.
"But, I just wanted to give this other woman, Saujani, a shot," he said.
Ami Shah Nagarajan, a Saujani supporter who was at the Reshma Saujani campaign viewing party Tuesday night, said she'd "be ready for her next round."
Ryan Brumberg won the Republican Congressional primary for District 14, and will face Rep. Maloney in November.