Former New York Congressman Mondaire Jones launches bid to reclaim his seat

July 6, 2023

Mondaire Jones (D-New York) represented New York’s 17th Congressional District in 2020-21—but, because of redistricting, ran in another district in 2022 and lost.

On Wednesday, July 5, Jones launched a bid to reclaim his seat in New York’s Hudson Valley—entering a competitive primary in a contest that Democrats see as one of their best pickup opportunities next year as they try to reclaim control of the House from Republicans, reports The Washington Post.

Jones prevailed in New York’s 17th Congressional District in 2020; but opted to run in a different district last year after redistricting prompted then-Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-New York) to run in the 17th District. Maloney, then the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, suffered a narrow but stunning upset in the general election to Representative Michael Lawler (R).

Jones, meanwhile, didn’t advance beyond the Democratic primary last year in the race for New York’s 10th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In an announcement video released Wednesday, Jones emphasized his roots in the 17th District, including his working-class background. “Most people in Washington didn’t grow up like me,” he says in the video. “They have no idea what it’s like to struggle. We’ve got to get Washington back on the side of working people. I know we can do better. For me, this is personal.”

The video also highlights the work Jones did during his single term in Congress to secure funding for law enforcement and infrastructure in the district.

Jones, 36, a lawyer who has served as a CNN commentator since leaving Congress, won’t have the Democratic field to himself.

Liz Whitmer Gereghty—a small-business founder and the sister of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D)—announced a bid in May. Last month, MaryAnn Carr, a former Bedford council member, also entered the race. Maloney, who lost to Lawler by just over 1,800 votes, has not ruled out seeking a rematch.

Underscoring the region’s importance to Democrats, President Joe Biden held a campaign-style event just outside Lawler’s district in May to highlight the fight with Republicans over the debt limit. Biden carried Lawler’s district over then-President Donald Trump by about 10 percentage points in 2020.

In Jones’s announcement video, he stressed the importance of issues including abortion, gun violence, and “standing up for democracy.” He also pledged to battle corruption in Washington.

In a statement Wednesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee predicted that the competitive primary in the 17th District would leave the eventual nominee “bruised and broke.”

NRCC spokesperson Savannah Viar also sought to cast Jones as too liberal for the Hudson Valley and claimed he left residents “in a lurch” after running in a different district last year.

Research contact: @washingtonpost