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If you’re an incumbent member of Congress, pretty much the last thing you ever want to do is debate a primary opponent in public. As a sitting member, you already have every possible advantage. Unless you drop dead during a speech or get drunk and take your clothes off on a commercial airplane, you are very likely to be re-elected to Congress, so a televised debate cannot help you. It is all risk and no upside, but occasionally there is no avoiding it.
Democrats held a primary debate in New York City last night. They had no choice. Both the candidates in this race are incumbents. Thanks to a court decision that redrew congressional boundaries, the two most powerful members of the New York delegation are now running against each other for the same seat. That’s a lot of fun. For 30 years, Carolyn Maloney has represented the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Over the same period, 30 years, Jerry Nadler has represented the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Jerry Nadler is 75 years old. Carolyn Maloney is 76 years old. Rather than do the obvious thing and retire, the two are now