The mud-slinging circus of a Democratic primary in New York’s 10th Congressional District came to a brief halt on Monday as Democratic opponents Mondaire Jones and Yuh-Line Niou teamed up to lambast another contender, Dan Goldman, who last weekend won the coveted endorsement of the New York Times editorial board.
With early voting already underway, Jones, an upstate Congressman who moved to Brooklyn to run in the newly-drawn district, and Niou, a state Assemblymember from Lower Manhattan, say that Goldman — who served as the government counsel in the first impeachment of Donald Trump — is trying to use his considerable wealth to “purchase” the seat and that his policy positions are out of touch with the communities he’s running to represent.
“[Goldman] cannot be allowed to purchase this congressional seat,” Jones said at a Monday press conference with Niou, in front of supporters with signs reading ‘Anybody but Goldman’ and ‘NYC is NOT For Sale.’ “Dan Goldman cannot buy the City of New York. The City of New York is not for sale.”
Goldman, an heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, is by far the wealthiest candidate in the race, with financial disclosures suggesting a net worth of up to $253 million. If he won the primary contest — which essentially guarantees a win in the November general election, given the political demographics of the new district — Goldman would be one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
Jones and Niou say they have nothing against Goldman’s wealth per se, but oppose his allegedly using his money to overwhelm his more financially-strapped opponents. Goldman has poured $2 million of his own money into the campaign just this month while also bringing in millions in outside contributions, spending his coffers on pricey TV and radio ads.
The pair also branded Goldman as “conservative” over his stances on climate change and healthcare and criticized his unclear position on reproductive care expressed to Orthodox outlet Hamodia and to the Times.
“How do we ever expect our multi-million dollar opponent to fight back against the Republican war on birth control and emergency contraception when he can’t even explain what it is he’s fighting to protect?” Niou said. “I get it: our multi-millionaire opponent didn’t care or need to know about abortion before he ran for Congress. He wasn’t impacted by the issue, good for him. Millions of people in this country aren’t so lucky.”
“Running for Congress isn’t a hobby,” Niou added. “It’s a commitment to being there for the people who depend on you.”
Goldman holds the lead in a new poll from PIX11, The Hill, and Emerson College, the first poll of the race not commissioned by a candidate. Goldman was the choice of 22% of respondents to the poll, with Niou following at 17% and Jones and Manhattan councilmember Carlina Rivera tied in third at 13%.
At his own press conference Monday, Goldman said he believes in “the principles and ideals of the Green New Deal” and would be “zealous” and “tireless” in protecting the right to abortion. He also said that he supports “healthcare for everyone” but would not commit specifically to Medicare for All, to which Jones and Niou had called on him.
“I think it’s quite clear from what I’ve said all along, what our website and our policy positions are, what my progressive ideals are,” Goldman said at the conference, which he announced after news of Jones and Niou announced their collaboration. “And what I’m excited about is no matter what others may want to say, the voters do really seem to understand that.”
With no obvious frontrunner in the race, the Times endorsement was seen by many as a kingmaking choice certain to spring the endorsee to the top of voters’ preferences just as early voting kicked off. The Grey Lady has nonetheless faced criticism from candidates, the press, and advocates for its choices of Goldman, Jerry Nadler, and Sean Patrick Maloney in Districts 10, 12, and 17 respectively, since all three are white men.
NY1 political anchor Errol Louis posited in a column that the board’s patrician members may have seen a bit of themselves in the elite-pedigreed Goldman. That thought was bolstered Monday by The Intercept reporter Ryan Grim, who reported that the Goldman clan has rubbed elbows with the Sulzbergers, the family that publishes the Times, for decades.
In a statement to Grim, a Times spokesperson denied that the Sulzberger family weighed in on the paper’s NY-10 endorsement and said that the endorsement was entirely merit-based and above-board.
“The New York Times editorial political endorsements are merit-based, independent decisions arising from extensive discussion among a board of experienced journalist,” the Times spokesperson said. “This board reports to the opinion editor and publisher, without any involvement from members of the newsroom, business operations, or shareholders.”