In the packed race for the newly reconfigured 10th Congressional District, a clear rivalry has emerged between two candidates who each believe their prior experience in Washington and political philosophy makes them more equipped to represent the district that includes lower Manhattan and swaths of Brooklyn.
U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Westchester, Rockland Counties) and Dan Goldman, lead counsel in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, have been trading barbs in recent days – going back-and-forth, in person, through news releases and through their surrogates on Twitter.
Their most recent spat went down during a District 10 candidates’ forum focussing on environmental issues Wednesday night, hosted by the environmental advocacy group UPROSE. The exchange began when Goldman took direct aim at Jones for touting his record of passing bills in the House that then didn’t make it through the U.S. Senate.
“The real question we have to figure out though, and the question for all of you out there, is: who is actually going to go to Washington and be effective?” Goldman said. “Is it going to be someone who goes to Washington, passes a bill through the House that doesn’t get through the Senate, doesn’t become law, but gets to talk a lot about how they got a bill passed the [House]? Or is it going to be somebody who’s actually going to figure out a way to get a bill turned into a law? Which of course requires both the House and the Senate and the president.”
With the 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, plus the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, Democrats are hamstrung in getting progressive legislation like the Green New Deal passed in Washington. These bills, that pass the House, often end up getting watered down in the Senate to appease swing state lawmakers like Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Republicans, who usually don’t end up voting for the legislation anyway.
Jones lambasted Goldman’s idea of working with those across the aisle to get legislation passed, saying the real solution is to elect more liberal Democratic senators to dilute the power of centrists like Manchin – Jones has committed to working to elect more Democrats in the south after the primary. Additionally, Jones slammed Goldman for not supporting the idea of expanding the U.S. Supreme Court beyond nine members.
“Joe Manchin shares Dan Goldman’s approach, whereas I think we need better Democrats in Congress so that we can get things through the Senate,” Jones said. “I’m also someone who has actually passed legislation. Including legislation that has required Republican support or that has garnered Republican support. But make no mistake, in this moment, we need bold progressive leaders in Congress. Not folks who spend their time talking about the private sector but people who will actually go on the record in support of things like court expansion, which Mr. Goldman opposes.’
Jones also criticized Goldman in a press release announcing his campaign’s six-figure broadcast TV ad buy earlier this week. The release said Jones was the first “progressive candidate” in the race to place an ad on broadcast TV – appearing to label Goldman, who started running ads on broadcast two weeks before him, as not progressive.
In response, Goldman’s spokesperson Simone Kanter Tweeted “Dan Goldman remains the only NY-10 resident up on broadcast” – calling out Jones for only recently moving to the district from Westchester at the start of June.
It’s not exactly clear why Jones or Goldman are spending so much time attacking one another considering neither is the frontrunner in the race in terms of polling and endorsements – that distinction goes to City Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan). Rivera has mostly stayed above the fray but did come under fire from both Jones and Goldman last week for seeming to suggest that she was ok with religious exemptions that discriminate against LGBTQ plus people in certain instances, something she later clarified she opposes.
However, out of the crowded field, Jones and Goldman have raised the most money by far – Jones has $2.8 million and Goldman has a little over $1 million on hand as of their last campaign finance filings. They’re also the two candidates with the most recent experience working on Capitol Hill – the last being former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman has been out of Congress.
Chris Coffey, CEO of Tusk Strategies, told PoliticsNY that these kinds of attacks between candidates will become more and more common as the Aug. 23 primary draws ever closer. Coffey said Jones and Goldman are going after each other because they’re both clearly in the top tier of candidates, along with Rivera and Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan). This is especially apparent after the former Mayor Bill de Blasio suddenly dropped out of the race last week.
But it may also be because the two simply “don’t like each other,” Coffey said.
“There’s clearly a disdain from both of these two and who should be running and who shouldn’t,” he said. “Think you are seeing those dynamics play out.”