After Nov. 2 Defeats, members call for State Democratic Chair’s resignation

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State and Nassau County Democratic Party committees. (Photo by Briana Bonfiglio)

A small group of state democratic committee members from Kings County to Saratoga are calling for a vote of no confidence in their chair, Jay Jacobs. In a press release Nov. 15, they wrote that Jacobs is no longer the leader that can keep the party together.

Republicans took down Democratic strongholds all across the state. In Nassau County, where Jacobs is the county Democratic chair, they replaced a Democrat in the district attorney role and the county comptroller seat. Nobles Crawford, the Democratic district representative in Washington Heights, told PoliticsNY that Jacobs did nothing to stop the loss in his home county. 

“He knew the type of misinformation and propaganda right-wing Republicans were putting out in order to manipulate people, and he didn’t do anything from a budgetary standpoint,” Crawford said. 

He signed the letter along with Émilia Decaudin, a rep from Queens, Jesse Pierce of Brooklyn, and 10 others. 

“I think Jay Jacobs is running the party like we’re in 2008 at the height of Democratic messaging popularity,” Crawford said.

In a post-Trump world, that is not the case. State Republicans spent $3 million on television and radio ads to support their claims before the elections, according to the New York Times, while Democratic outreach efforts did not include money for marketing. 

Some positions outside of his policy have thrown Jacobs into hot water recently. In October, he came under scrutiny for using an analogy about David Duke, famous grand wizard of the KKK, when speaking about the Democratic primary.

“The press has reported that we had an ask to do more, and that soft ask to do more came two days before the start of early voting,” said Alexander Wang, executive director of the New York State Democratic Committee, on Nov. 4. 

He touted their mailing program and funding for local partners to get the word out about the three ballot proposals on election reform, all of which failed on election day. 

“One of the priorities of the democratic party is to open up voting access,” Crawford said. 

Jay Jacobs’ office did not respond to requests for comment, nor have they published a statement on the matter, but this is becoming an ominous cloud over the leading Democrat. Jacobs’ seat will be up for grabs in February, according to party members. Though the signers of Monday’s letter are not calling for a vote of no confidence in order to place their own preferred leader. Crawford said they don’t have anyone in mind, because when February comes around the interested members will step up. 

The goal is to signal to their colleagues that “there needs to be a change in leadership here,” he said.