To fully capture how ugly New York City’s most contested Democratic primary has become, it took an off-the-cuff tweet from a California congressman.
Candidate for New York’s 10th Congressional District and frontrunner in Tuesday’s primary, Daniel Goldman, tweeted an ad last week emphasizing his role as the House Democrats’ lead counsel during the 2019 impeachment of Donald Trump.
Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a close friend of Goldman’s and a key player in the impeachment investigation, responded on Twitter, “looks great. Stupid, last-ditch advertising from Mondaire.
The Mondaire in question was Democratic New York State Representative Mondaire Jones. He had just released a scathing ad of his own, labeling Goldman a “conservative” for supporting abortion restrictions in an interview and attacking his wealth and Fox News investments.
Clearly, Goldman and his supporters view these accusations as groundless. And Swalwell removed the tweet from his account. New York’s progressives, and especially those in Jones’ camp, continued to hold a negative view of Trump.
A consultant for Jones’s campaign, Bill Neidhardt, took a jab at Eric Swalwell’s failed run for president in 2020 by saying, “If Eric Swalwell had any impact at all in New York City, it would look the same as his impact in the 2020 presidential primary.”
One New York City-based Democratic operative described the 12-candidate race for a super-liberal district’s open seat in the United States House as a “horror show” recently, and the Twitter dust-up was just one reason.
That nightmare began in June, when a Republican judge ordered a last-minute redrawing of the state’s new congressional lines. The new 10th District in Manhattan and Brooklyn was drawn without an incumbent, but it included many influential groups in New York City politics, such as Asian-American, Hispanic, and Jewish voters.
Yet another referendum on whether the progressive left or the center left truly captures the Democratic Party, this race has become increasingly divisive.
Given the lack of significant differences in platform between the leading candidates, this election serves as an unusual referendum. The New York operative noted that it was a bit rich to see Democrats try to turn Goldman into “Joe Manchin,” adding, “They’ll all vote the same on 99 percent of the House bills.”
In the eyes of Democratic party insiders, however, the candidates have been divided into camps due to more overt distinctions in personal history, political allegiances, and general vibe (i.e., how they talk and what issues they choose to focus on).
Goldman, a former prosecutor and extremely wealthy heir to the Levi Strauss fortune who is using his own money to run for office, does not fit this description. His detractors have pointed out that very fact, emphasizing how that fact disqualifies him.
In other words, the progressives’ problem isn’t that they don’t have a strong, credible candidate of their own. As a result, they have too many of them.
Jones, state legislator Yuh-Line Niou, and city council member Carlina Rivera all received the left wing of the state’s stamp of approval by having previously run for office on the Working Families Party line. (In this election, Niou has the backing of the World Food Programme.)
Even though progressives know they need to unite behind one candidate, nobody wants to put too much pressure on any one of them to drop out because they all represent important political constituencies and have powerful backers.
Many are worried that the top candidates, who are all confident in their chances of winning, will end up splitting the vote and giving Goldman a slim but decisive majority when Tuesday’s votes are counted.
One senior House aide put it this way: “From a progressive perspective, there’s a sense that it’s a slow moving car crash, and we know where it’s going to end.”
An aide predicted that “recriminations” would be made within the progressive movement if Goldman were elected.
There are only a few days left until the primary, and the three most left-leaning candidates are all vying to be seen as the best option.
Unlike Goldman’s Resistance-themed campaign, Rivera has focused on an issue that is currently energizing the party’s base: abortion.
Specifically on issues related to reproductive rights and abortion access, “progressive New Yorkers and voters in NY-10 recognize that she is the best choice for a committed liberal and genuine progressive to represent us in Congress,” said Rivera campaign spokesperson Sara Rodriguez. A Latino political action committee is investing $500,000 in TV ads to amplify Rivera’s message.
After being asked for their thoughts on the election, Niou’s PR team remained silent.
Simone Kanter, a spokesperson for Goldman’s campaign, has claimed that the candidate’s strong support in the polls and among endorsements proves that he is assembling the largest possible coalition. Kanter noted that Goldman had pledged to run an upbeat campaign, calling it “unfortunate” that the contest has devolved into an ugly one.
Before the infighting began, this race made national headlines because troubled ex-Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio used it to try and make a political comeback, but he eventually dropped out due to poor poll numbers.
Both Rivera and Niou received substantial left-wing backing from a wide variety of state and local political heavy hitters. After being forced out of his Hudson Valley district by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Jones decided to run for the open seat here in an effort to make up for lost time by highlighting his record of progressive voting in Congress.
However, before Goldman’s strong fundraising and his own money propelled his campaign into the lead in some polls, the field was somewhat unsettled. When The New York Times endorsed him last week, progressives scrambled desperately to stop him.
That crucial endorsement came late in a campaign in which Goldman had struggled to make an impression on influential members of the city’s political community.
One New York Democrat insider predicted that their candidate would win if they received the paper’s endorsement. No amount of last-minute opposition to Dan’s candidacy a week before the primary convinces me that he won’t win.
Many progressives are worried that the Times’ endorsement will hurt their cause. Many minority Democrats in the city felt insulted because the endorsement came along with those of two other white candidates in a contested primary and made no reference to Niou or Rivera, two women of color running for office.
Plus, a report in the left-leaning outlet The Intercept suggested that Goldman’s family ties with the Sulzbergers, who have owned the Times for decades, played a role in the endorsement. It was denied by Goldman’s campaign.
However, the endorsement from The New York Times also signaled a larger ideological shift to the Democratic insider. “The far left has lost its momentum,” they proclaimed.
After two successful election cycles in which underdog progressives in New York toppled senior incumbent House members, the year 2022 does not look promising for the left wing of the party in the Empire State or nationally.
On Tuesday, incumbent Democratic Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York is heavily favored to defeat left-leaning State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. Maloney was the House Democratic Campaign Chair whose district switch prompted Jones to run for office downstate.
Key figures on the left have remained neutral in the 10th District race, despite the fact that some notables, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have endorsed against Maloney.
That’s probably due to the fact that Jones, an incumbent who doesn’t represent this district, is popular among his progressive House colleagues, and the city’s complex factional politics.
Niou is hoping to join the so-called “Squad,” none of whom have endorsed a candidate yet. Neither have many prominent Democrats across the country, with the exception of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who are both supporting Jones.
Trump’s endorsement, coming as it did in the final days before the election, may have caused the most controversy because he is the most despised politician in the Democratic Party.
Trump released statements on Wednesday night “endorsing” Goldman, gloating over the impeachment’s failure, and taunting Republicans by claiming he’d be “compassionate” to them.
Though it was obviously a troll, Niou’s campaign fell for it and issued a fundraising statement on Thursday claiming Goldman was “endorsed by Trump” and Niou was not.
Goldman soon tweeted that anyone who took Trump’s endorsement seriously “simply don’t understand Trump and are ill-equipped to defend and protect our democracy.”
When asked if they agreed with Goldman’s assessment that Trump was truly endorsing Goldman, the Niou campaign remained silent.
Intentional or not, Goldman may have benefited from the Trump endorsement because it allowed him to return attention to his campaign’s central theme, which was to oppose Trump and his attacks on democratic institutions.
A New York-based Democratic operative said, “What Goldman has done well is, he’s remained really calm, and he’s good on TV.” The operative added that Goldman’s experience as a Trump prosecutor, “gone through that meat grinder,” and being attacked relentlessly, probably serves him well.
To learn more, check out The Daily Beast.
The top 5 Fall getaways in the Northeast
This story has been updated with new information. Fall brings a welcome respite from summer’s heat and humidity as well...
Giant Slide reopened in the US for the first time since going viral
Thousands of people showed up to the Giant Slide in Detroit on the first weekend it reopened since going viral.
This hiker falls to his death at the Grand Canyon
A hiker walking in Grand Canyon National Park fell approximately 200 feet to his death on Friday afternoon, according to...
Ford fixed a problem with the Mustang that caused many crashes
Ford Mustang prototype mystery of 'The Bulge' has finally been solved.
You can buy a 90s Porsche-inspired boat, if you really want to
Yes, this is a yacht made to kind of look like a 993-generation 911 cabriolet.