Could Niou challenge Goldman in NY10 general election on Working Families Party line?

Collage Maker-24-Aug-2022-04.08-PM
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou and Dan Goldman.
Photos courtesy of Niou Campaign and (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

While Yuh-Line Niou isn’t conceding the Democratic nomination in the 10th Congressional District race to Dan Goldman quite yet, the idea is being floated that the Manhattan Assembly Member could challenge Goldman on the Working Families line in the November general election.

Just over 1,300 votes separated Goldman, who served as lead counsel in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, and Niou Tuesday night, but that was enough for the Associated Press to call the race in favor of Goldman early Wednesday morning, going off of unofficial vote tallies from the city Board of Elections (BOE). Goldman declared victory a few hours prior and ultimately nabbed 25.7 percent of the vote to Niou’s 23.9, with U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Rockland, Westchester Counties) coming in third at 18 percent and City Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan) with 17 percent.

Roughly 13,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted in the district that covers much of lower Manhattan and parts of northwest Brooklyn, but the BOE has said it won’t start tabulating them until Aug. 30 – its deadline for receiving the remaining ballots. Also, it’s rumored the board won’t update its election night results until Sept. 9.

Niou took to Twitter Wednesday afternoon, repeating what she said Tuesday night, that her campaign won’t concede until all of the votes are counted.

“We’re going to keep working until every vote is counted,” Niou wrote. “But no matter the final result, I’m so proud and grateful to all of you who supported with your time, money, and energy! We showed that a dedicated crew of volunteers can stand up to big money. More to come soon!”

Meanwhile, Sochie Nnaemeka – director of the New York Working Families Party (NYWFP), which backed Niou in the race – released a statement saying the majority of District 10 voters chose a self-described progressive candidate over Goldman, which includes Niou, Jones and Rivera.

“Despite being outspent by several million dollars and withstanding a torrent of attacks from Trump-aligned groups, Yuh-Line is within points of Dan Goldman in a heavily contested field,” Nnaemeka said. “While there are still ballots left to be counted, what’s clear is that the overwhelming majority of voters chose a self-described progressive in this race, and people are hungry for authentic representation that will fight to defend abortion rights and put their needs ahead of the whims of the ultra wealthy.”

Nnaemeka’s statement seems to imply Tuesday’s results show that if Niou were to challenge Goldman in a general election, which would essentially be a two-person race in a deeply blue district where Republicans have little to no sway, she would win. The assumption being that the bulk of those who voted for Jones and Rivera in the primary would cast their ballots for Niou in the general election.

According to NYWFP spokesperson Ravi Mangla, Jones currently holds the party’s line in the general election because they had endorsed him in his current Congressional District 17 before the state legislature-drawn districts were thrown out by the state courts and the lines were redrawn. Jones’ petition signatures were transferred when he decided to run District 10 instead of CD17, even though the party endorsed Niou for CD10.

Mangla said NYWFP is confident Jones, who has until early September to rescind the line, will decline it.

“He made an agreement with the party that, were he to lose the primary, he would decline the line,” Mangla told PoliticsNY. “We don’t have any great concerns right now that he will do anything other than decline the line.”

The party is waiting for all of the primary votes to be counted, Mangla said, before making a decision on who to back in the general election.

“No decisions made, we just want to see what the final count is,” Mangla said. “Hopefully there will be a count before we have to make that decision. But we have not come to any conclusion on that yet.”

Burns said he hasn’t spoken to Niou about the possibility of running on the NYWFP line yet. Goldman’s campaign declined to comment on the prospect of Niou running against him in the general when PoliticsNY reached out.

But Chris Coffey, political consultant and CEO of Tusk Strategies, isn’t quite convinced Niou would pick up enough of Jones’ and Rivera’s votes in the general to put her over the finish line.

“I think there’s now a perception that like 65 percent of the district voted for a progressive and therefore Yuh-Line would have a really strong shot against Dan in a one-on-one race,” Coffey said. “I think that’s probably not right.”

Coffey’s skepticism, he said, is driven by the fact that there’s likely more overlap between Jones and Goldman supporters – due to their national profiles and focus on national issues – than the NYWFP is considering and there are many Rivera voters who wouldn’t back Niou.

“I think a lot of Mondaire’s votes would go to Dan,” Coffey said. “This idea that just, he was progressive, [so] all his votes would go to Yuh-Line? Maybe. I mean, voters are more complicated than that. So, my suspicion is it will at least be a split. And I’m not sure where Carlina’s votes go. Like, I know a lot of people that voted for Carlina, who I don’t think will vote for Yuh-Line.”