The New York Working Families Party is bolstering four of their New York City congressional favorites by endorsing incumbents in newly redrawn districts.
The left-wing party is set to endorse Democratic Reps. Nydia Velazquez, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, Chuck Schumer, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Republicans pose little threat to any of the elected officials, but the makeup of their districts is changing to accommodate the new 10-year Census figures.
Working Families’ support comes as potential inter-party challengers assess the new landscapes created by redistricting.
Rep. Jones’ Westchester district is shifting north, west, and whiter, while Rep. Bowman’s primarily Bronx district is shifting deeper into Westchester. Rep. Ocasio Cortez, who is from the Bronx, is expanding her territory into Queens, while Rep. Velazquez, who has long been based in Sunset Park, loses all of that territory.
Bowman appears to be the most likely to face a serious challenge, possibly from Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, who made a sarcastic remark during a radio show on WVOX Radio 1460 AM after the Bronx congressman was arrested for protesting voting rights in front of the Capitol.
“Well, listen, they should have arrested him for his vote on the infrastructure bill, but you know… I’m a staunch moderate.” I’m right in the middle. “I believe there is… both sides have merit to their arguments,” Spano said. The NAACP chapters in Yonkers and New Rochelle both condemned Spano’s remarks as inappropriate.
“At this time, we need to make sure that our champions get the push, support, and encouragement they need to keep pushing this agenda forward,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the New York Working Families Party. “We believe they have a lot of work ahead of them and want them to know that the Working Families Party is rooting for them and expects the fight to continue.”
The incumbent facing the most ferocious challenge, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who barely won re-election in 2020, is conspicuously absent from the party’s endorsement round. She will face significant challenges from community organizer Rana Abdelhamid and Suraj Patel, the hotel family scion who nearly beat her last time.
Nnaemeka stated that while many of her party members support Abdelhamid, the party was not yet ready to weigh in.
“We’re going to keep rolling out endorsements,” she said. “I believe there will be more on those in other more contested races.”
Abdelhamid does have the support of the Justice Democrats, who helped Ocasio-Cortez win in 2018 and will back Bowman in 2020.
Although Maloney’s East Side-centric district is less vulnerable to progressives poaching voters — and Maloney has worked to strengthen her progressive credentials — two of Wednesday’s endorsees described the WFP endorsement as a critical boost.
“In New York, the Working Families Party has been a driving force in the progressive movement, providing critical support and infrastructure to progressive candidates and causes.” “I’m honored to have their support,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement that will be included with the endorsements.
“Back in 2020, WFP’s endorsement was critical in helping us build the grassroots support we needed to defeat an incumbent,” Bowman explained.
On Tuesday, Schumer received the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a progressive ballot line that has backed primary challengers to New York’s establishment Democrats.
In its endorsement, the party cited Schumer’s support for measures such as the Build Back Better Act, which aims to make it easier to vote and cancel student debt, as well as his efforts to provide debt relief to taxi drivers in New York City.
“Chuck Schumer has been a dependable partner in the work to strengthen democracy and invest deeply in working-class families. Up against some steep political hurdles, Senator Schumer has kept up the fight to pass Build Back Better, the Freedom to Vote Act, and provide debt relief for working people,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, Director of the New York Working Families Party. “With a Working Families majority in Congress, we’re confident we can get this essential legislation over the finish line.”
Schumer has avoided a strong primary challenge from the left despite facing broader challenges in Washington and as Democrats fight to maintain control of their narrow Senate majority. The chamber is currently divided 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote.