Former Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones announced Wednesday that he is running for Congress in New York’s 17th District, the seat he previously represented before redistricting thwarted his reelection plans last year.
“I’ve never been Washington’s choice. It’s because I stand up to corruption. I battle with Republicans trying to overthrow our democracy and ban abortion, even as I push my party to fight harder for working people. I’m running to finish the work I began,” Jones said in a tweet accompanying his campaign launch video.
“Most people in Washington didn’t grow up like me. They have no idea what it’s like to struggle. We got to get Washington back on the side of working people. I know we can do better. For me, this is personal,” he said.
Jones’ bid will pit him against Republican Rep. Mike Lawler of Rockland County and sets up a potentially brutal Democratic primary in the swing district.
Westchester residents Liz Whitmer Gereghty, the sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who previously served on the district’s school board, and MaryAnn Carr have also declared their candidacies for the 17th District. Gereghty is planning to run as a more moderate candidate in her bid to flip the seat.
Jones became one of the first two openly gay Black men elected to Congress when he first won the race to succeed former Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey in 2020. He served as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was elected unanimously by his colleagues to serve as the freshman representative to House Democratic Leadership.
Jones was seen as a rising star in the party for his positions on expanding the size of the Supreme Court and supporting the “Green New Deal” while also voting for the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure deal and increased police funding.
Jones chose not to run for reelection for his old seat after redistricting placed him in the same district as former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the then-chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He instead ran in New York’s 10th District, and ultimately lost to Dan Goldman in the Democratic primary. Goldman went on to win the race, but Maloney ultimately lost his election to Lawler.
Democrats are now eager to flip the 17th District seat and ensure a Democrat succeeds in the 2024 congressional race.
Jones was an on-air CNN political commentator for several months earlier this year before leaving the network.
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