Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Progressive Caucus rescinds endorsement of former Rep. Mondaire Jones

By 37ci3 Jun6,2024

WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC said Thursday it has rescinded its endorsement of former Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y. confirmed the main competitor Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a senior member of the Progressive Caucus and fellow Black New York Democrat, for Bowman’s criticism of Israel.

It’s an unusual move for the Progressive Caucus, which has generally tried to adopt a big-tent approach to growing its membership and avoid strict ideological litmus tests, sometimes to the chagrin of fringe leftist allies.

“A number of factors led Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC to rescind its endorsement of Mondaire Jones,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC Executive Director Evan Brown, adding that the move was “a unanimous decision of our PAC board.”

The campaign arm of the caucus has invested heavily in Bowman’s race advertising campaign last week on his behalf. He works as the deputy chairman for labor in the leadership group of the CPC.

Bowman locks up fierce Democratic primary battle With Westchester County Executive George Latimer, where Israel’s war in Gaza has become a central issue. Bowman says that “US taxpayer dollars are going to burn babies alive,” while Latimer affirms his support for the Jewish state.

The June 25 primary has become a key flashpoint in a larger conflict between the Democratic mainstream and the insurgent left, which Bowman is seeking to defend after winning his seat in 2020 after being ousted from the 16-term pro-Israel office.

Jones was also elected in 2020 amid a surge of progressive activists campaigning on the post-George Floyd platform of Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and police funding. He and his colleague were elected the same year the first openly gay Black members of Congress in history.

Jones lost re-election in 2022 and is now running for a second term in Congress. He is the leading Democrat in the race to take on New York GOP Rep. Mike Lawler, seen as one of the more vulnerable Republicans in the country.

“I have no regrets about standing up for what I strongly believe in,” Jones said in a statement in response to the rebuke from the Progressive Caucus. “I have known and worked with George Latimer for years.”

“Rep. Bowman and I have very different views on Israel,” Jones continued. “I am appalled by his recent endorsement of the DSA, his denial of sexual harassment of Israeli women by Hamas on October 7, and his haste to call out Israel. A ceasefire before Israel could barely begin to defend itself against the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust.

Earlier this week, Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., pointed to the move, calling Jones’ decision to endorse a former colleague’s opponent “appalling.”

“Honestly, I’m disgusted by it,” he told NBC News. “This is a former colleague of his, a top priority candidate for us, a current member of the Progressive Caucus.”

Jayapal said he believes Jones is supporting Latimer “because he thinks it’s obviously politically expedient, but I don’t, and that’s not the way we operate as progressives.”

“We cannot be inconsistent where the highest priority official that we spend money on and one of our candidates … attacks that person,” he said. “So we stand firmly behind Jamaal Bowman; we’re going to do everything we can to win for Jamaal. And I hope Jamaal gets back in Congress.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow New York progressive who like Bowman is a member of The Squad, called Jones’ endorsement of Latimer “deeply disappointing.”

“What we’re experimenting with in order to win the House and the presidency in November is directly contrary to Democratic unity,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview this week. “There is overwhelming support for Bowman throughout the Democratic party, from House leadership to Black and Progressive caucuses.”

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By 37ci3

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