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District switch doesn’t save Rep. Mondaire Jones in New York primary

Freshman Democrat sought open Manhattan-Brooklyn seat

New York Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones campaigns in Brooklyn ahead of Tuesday's 10th District primary.
New York Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones campaigns in Brooklyn ahead of Tuesday's 10th District primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones lost his bid for a second term Tuesday after choosing to run for a New York City seat rather than challenge another incumbent near his former home north of the city. 

Jones, who in 2020 became one of the first two openly gay Black men elected to Congress, finished third in the Democratic primary for New York’s 10th District. Dan Goldman, who was a staff attorney for the House Judiciary Committee during the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, came in first, while state Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou came in sectond. Goldman had 26 percent, Niou 24 percent and Jones 18 percent when the Associated Press called the race at 12:39 a.m. Wednesday.

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Jones moved to Brooklyn this year after his old home in White Plains was drawn into the neighboring district represented by fellow progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, decided to run in the nearby 17th District, which included Maloney’s home. But Jones’ move to the 10th District, which had no incumbent, didn’t clear the field, and ultimately a dozen other Democrats were seeking the nomination for a seat that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as Solid Democratic.

Since he was elected, Jones has touted a bill he co-authored to expand voting rights and efforts to add seats to the Supreme Court. He has also touted his votes for legislation such as the recent Democratic climate and health care bill and last year’s COVID-19 relief law. He supports “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal and has aligned himself with members of “The Squad” of progressive Democrats, including fellow New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In 2021, he had a 100 percent party unity score. On votes the White House took a position on, he voted with President Joe Biden 98 percent of the time. 

During the campaign, Jones criticized rival Goldman for pouring his own money into the race. Still, Jones had outraised the field, bringing in $3.6 million as of Aug. 3. He also criticized the special master who drew New York’s congressional map, saying in an interview with CQ Roll Call while campaigning Sunday that it would reduce the number of Democrats of color in the state’s delegation. 

Raised in Rockland County, Jones had dreams of becoming a novelist when he went to Stanford University, but he gradually grew interested in activism and politics and won a postgraduate fellowship that allowed him to spend time with the Office of Legal Policy under Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., where he was one of the few non-lawyers. He then attended Harvard Law School, worked at a law firm and clerked for the Southern District of New York. He was an assistant county attorney to the Westchester County Law Department prior to announcing his bid for Congress.

Paul V. Fontelo contributed to this story.

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