Niou decides not to challenge Goldman in NY10 general election

Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou.
Photo courtesy of Niou for New York campaign

After two weeks of speculation, Yuh-Line Niou, the assembly member from Lower Manhattan, declared Tuesday night that she won’t be taking up the Working Families Party ballot line to challenge Democratic nominee Dan Goldman in the 10th Congressional District general election.

In a video posted to Twitter Tuesday night, Niou officially conceded the primary for the lower Manhattan and northwest  Brooklyn district, which the Associated Press called for Goldman hours after the primary polls closed. In the social media message, Niou said “enough of the absentee ballots have been counted” and made clear she won’t be challenging Goldman in November.

“Since Primary Day, I’ve heard so many of you asking me to run in November on the Working Families Party line,” Niou said. “I’m so incredibly humbled to be asked and honored by your confidence. The Working Families Party has meant so much to me as a political home since my very first run for office. As a leader and as a public servant though, I want to always put our community first. I hope and pray that everyone who represents our people will do the same.”

“We are conceding the primary and I will not be on the WFP line for the general,” she added. “We simply do not have the resources to fight all fights at the same time and we must protect our democracy now.”

Niou said protecting the Democratic majorities in the House is one of those necessary fights she intends to focus on in the runup to the general election.

The Manhattan lawmaker came within striking distance of Goldman – who was lead counsel in ex-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial – on election night, with just over a thousand votes separating the two. Although Goldman was declared the winner in the early hours of the day following the election, Niou refused to concede until several thousand yet to be counted absentee ballots were tabulated by the city Board of Elections (BOE).

But as those ballots have been counted over the two weeks since the primary, Goldman has only widened his lead by several hundred votes as of last Friday.

Attorney Dan Goldman stands with members of his family and supporters during an address on the evening of the Democratic primary election Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in New York. Goldman is running in the packed Democratic primary race for New York’s 10th Congressional District. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The idea of Niou running a third-party challenge against Goldman on the progressive WFP line started bubbling up not even 24-hours after the election had been called for Goldman, because a majority of voters who cast ballots in the race did so for progressive candidates, including Niou, City Council Member Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan) and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-Rockland, Westchester Counties). Last week, support for Niou running grew as the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club – an influential LGBTQ plus political club, which backed Rivera in the primary – encouraged Niou to throw her hat in the ring.

In a statement, the WFP’s New York Director Sochie Nnaemeka said “after careful deliberation between Yuh-Line and the WFP” they decided Niou wouldn’t run on their ballot line.

“We’re proud of Yuh-Line and know she will continue to be a courageous voice and a beloved leader in the WFP,” Nnaemeka said. “Yuh-Line spoke to the real struggles facing working people in NY-10 and was, in our view, the clear pick for the district.”

Nnaemeka said Niou faced tremendous odds in the primary running against Goldman, who flooded the race with $5 million of his own money.

“Mr. Goldman won his seat with the aid of millions of dollars of his own wealth, and still won far short of a majority of the Democrats in the district,” she said. “We urge him to take note of the progressive positions shared by candidates who cumulatively received a majority of the vote, including the unequivocal defense of abortion rights, universal health care, investing in NYCHA and affordable housing, and eradicating the nefarious presence of big money in politics.”

Following Niou’s announcement, Goldman released a statement that didn’t mention Niou by name speaking to his excitement about working with “every person in this district” and how much he learned from each candidate in the race.

“Each of the candidates in this race raised critical issues that must be addressed in City Hall, Albany and Washington, and I learned so much from them during the primary,” Goldman said.

“I look forward to joining forces with leaders, organizers and activists in the days and months ahead, and towards our shared goal of holding  the Democratic majority in the House and Senate so that we can protect our democracy, our fundamental rights, our neighbors, and the future of the planet itself,” he added.