Term-limited City Councilman Chaim Deutsch officially announced his run for Congress on Tuesday, pitting himself against incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke — a fellow Democrat.
“My parents survived the Holocaust and came to America with nothing except hope in their hearts. They taught me to be selfless and help others,” Deutsch wrote on Twitter. “I’m running for US Congress to carry on their legacy.”
Deutsch was first elected to his Council post — which covers Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, and Midwood — in 2013 and won reelection in 2017, but now he’s time-barred from serving another term, and he’s setting his sights on Washington.
Clarke currently holds the congressional seat — which has jurisdiction over Park Slope, Sheepshead Bay, Crown Heights, and Flatbush — but a number of wannabe Congress members have already declared their intention to challenge her in the 2020 Democratic Primary.
The orthodox Jewish councilman — who describes himself as a “conservative Democrat” — has a track record of voting against the Democratic party line, often drawing criticism from the party’s progressive factions.
Deutsch drew the ire of liberals after he voted against a spate pro-LGBT legislation — like his opposition to a bill that would ban conversion therapy in the five boroughs, because people should have a “choice,” according to Gay City News.
The Sheepshead Bay councilman also opposed a city resolution to close Rikers Island prison complex and shepherd inmates to smaller jails across the city — which ultimately passed despite his “no” vote in October.
With the Tuesday announcement, Deutsch joins a handful of candidates who have declared primary runs to represent New York’s Ninth district, including from progressive activist Adem Bunkededekko — who also ran for the seat in 2018, but lost narrowly to Clarke.