Former Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), who was forced out of his seat by former Democrat Campaign Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) last cycle, is planning on running to represent his old district, but he will have to get through a brutal primary first.
Jones is looking to make a comeback after not being elected in a different congressional district than his own last year. He bowed out of a primary battle against Maloney to run in another district following the former campaign chief announcing he would run in Jones’ district when a map of new congressional lines was released.
Nevertheless, if he runs, he would likely be in a tough primary against the sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). With the Democrats wanting to take back the House from the Republicans, the district Jones would run in is a must-win for them.
Politico reported that four people familiar with the former congressman’s plans say he is preparing to launch a campaign, despite publicly saying he’s undecided. However, that would put him against the Michigan governor’s sister, Liz Whitmer Gereghty, who has already filed campaign paperwork and is expected to make an official launch soon, according to reports.
The publication already acknowledged that some of the former congressman’s allies have already balked at the idea, feeling the primary would be “unnecessarily messy” after Jones was “screwed out of the seat in 2022” by Maloney. Maloney ended up losing in the general election to now-Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY).
The race will also test competing views on how the party should run in competitive districts: by juicing up the progressive base or appealing to the center. Jones was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus while Gereghty seems more likely to carve out a more moderate lane. She met Thursday with the executive director of the New Democrat Coalition Action Fund, the political arm of the centrist group, according to a person familiar with the situation.
New York’s 17th District, which includes parts of Westchester County and all of Rockland and Putnam counties, is a crucial battleground for Democrats who saw Maloney, their own 2022 campaign chief, lose it in the midterms. After a court tossed out the map New York Democrats drew following the 2020 census, Maloney declared he would run in the new 17th district, which included most of Jones’ current turf, leaving the first-term lawmaker with no clear political home.
Maloney’s shocking upset last year forced the district, which President Joe Biden won by 10 points, to the top of Democrats’ 2024 target list. The party has signaled it’s willing to spend heavily to recapture Biden-won districts in New York after suffering unexpected losses in 2022.
The four people familiar with the former congressman’s plans explained that Jones has been reaching out to some members but that it is now clear how they feel about his comeback bid.
Politico noted that some members, like Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), are saying they “want him to run” because the move by Maloney was “bullshit,” but then there are members, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), saying that they don’t want to get involved this early.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.
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