As the city’s second summer primary on August 23 hurdles into focus, the field for Congress in Downtown’s NY-10 remains overwhelmingly crowded.
Reshaped in May after a months-long redistricting process, the former West Side district now spans all of Downtown Manhattan, plus Dumbo, Park Slope and Sunset Park in Brooklyn. In the Republican race is Benine Hamdan, campaigning unopposed. For Democrats — of which there are a dozen vying for a spot on the general election ballot — it couldn’t be a more different story.
Some have racked up long lists of endorsements, taking the lead in an unusual race. Other high-profile hopefuls, like former Mayor Bill de Blasio, have since dropped out.
Quanda Francis, an accountant and former NYPD researcher, previously ran for comptroller and for mayor in 2021. She holds an undergraduate degree from New York University and an MBA and Ph.D. in Information Science from Long Island University.
Education is at the top of Francis’ list. “I have discussed incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into the K-12 education system to identify student learning styles in an effort to improve student academic outcomes,” according to her campaign website.
To address climate change, she’d like to “develop emergency procedures that are adaptive, cost-efficient, and effective.” Also on her agenda: preparing new generations for a “technologically driven economy.”
Rapper CL Smooth; Entrepreneur Mark Jenkins
Daniel Goldman, a lawyer, lives in Downtown Manhattan with his wife and five kids. Formerly an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York’s Southern District, he more recently acted as lead counsel during the impeachment investigation into former President Donald Trump’s ties with Ukraine, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.
Goldman is determined to “fight to protect our Democracy,” he told Our Town Downtown in a statement — especially in the wake of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. “We are facing a five-alarm fire that too many elected officials are treating as a tiny, distant flame,” he said.
Protecting rights like that to abortion, recently overturned by the Supreme Court, is on his agenda, as is addressing climate change by enforcing congestion pricing, funding renewable energy and supporting the Green New Deal.
NYS Assembly Member Robert Carroll; Former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel; Former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch; Village Independent Democrats; The Steady State
First elected to Congress 50 years ago, in NY-16, Elizabeth Holtzman co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues and served as a member of the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment inquiry into former President Richard Nixon. She joined the race in NY-10 after a leaked Supreme Court decision spelled trouble for Roe v. Wade.
Among Holtzman’s top priorities this time around, as detailed on her campaign website, is protecting reproductive rights post-Roe, “including ensuring that women and girls have full access to anti-abortion [sic] pills.” She’d also focus on fighting discrimmination and hate directed toward Jewish, LGBTQ+, Asian and other communities.
Squashing gun violence is high on her list, too — motivating her intent to ban assault weapon sales.
Activist Gloria Steinem
Mondaire Jones presently serves as a U.S. Rep. in NY-17 — but announced plans to leave his current district in favor of NY-10 after the release of finalized maps, which pit him and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney against one another. Jones lives in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn and acts as Congress’ Freshman Representative to Leadership.
On Jones’ agenda: “restoring our democracy,” according to his campaign website, by advocating for automatic voter registration, fighting against gerrymandering and increasing the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Jones stands behind Medicare for All, stating that “in the richest nation in the history of the world, health care should be a right, not a privilege.” He’s also committed to backing working, middle-class Americans by championing hazard pay and other labor laws.
U.S. Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu, Barbara Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Sheila Jackson Lee and Ruben Gallego; U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Cory Booker; Progressive Caucus; End Citizens United; RWDSU UFCW; National Nurses United; Council for a Livable World; Victory Fund; Congressional Black Caucus PAC; Democracy For America; Equality PAC; The Collective Political Action Committee; Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes PAC; Our Revolution NYPAN; Grand Street Dems; Common Defense; Moms Demand Action
Maud Maron, a lawyer and mother of four, lives in Soho and first anticipated running against Jerrold Nadler in the old NY-10, before launching her campaign in NY-12 and now back in the new NY-10. She started her career as a criminal defense attorney at the Legal Aid Society and told Our Town in March that she’s “proudly moderate.”
Public safety is at the top of Maron’s list — she intends to fund law enforcement and prosecute people carrying guns illegally, according to her campaign website. She also plans to focus on schools, where she believes parents ought to “have the right to have input into what their children are being taught.”
As for the economy, Maron is pushing for “regulatory reform to make it easier to start and run a business in New York.”
Activist Buck Angel; Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum & Education
Yuh-Line Niou has represented Downtown Manhattan, where she lives, in the NYS Assembly since her election in 2016. A Taiwanese immigrant, Niou is New York’s first AAPI woman assembly member and helped forge the state’s first Asian Pacific American Legislative Task Force.
Niou intends to make the economy a priority — by fighting for “a fair economy that works for everyone, demanding that the rich and mega corporations pay their fair share,” she told Our Town Downtown in a statement. She also plans to back public housing like NYCHA and the “Mitchell-Lama” program, which she explained “creates a path for homeownership.”
Also on her list: the “Green Niou Deal,” her spin on action to benefit the environment and “declare climate change a national emergency to expand the federal resources available to strengthen the fight,” she said.
NYS Senator Julia Salazar; NYS Assembly Members Michaelle Solages, Marcela Mitaynes and Ron Kim; District Leader Julio Peña III; Boston Mayor Michelle Wu; San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu; Virginia State Delegate Mark Keam; District Leader candidates Aaron Ouyang and Lydia Green; Cynthia Nixon; Whitney HuAnnie Tan; Michael Lee; Rabbi Iris Richman; Ronny Chieng; Alice Wong; Marti Cummings; Tahanie Aboushi; New York Working Families Party; Sunrise Movement NYC; The Jewish Vote; Indivisible Nation Brooklyn; Muslim Democratic Club of New York; TREEage; No IDC NY; New Downtown Dems; Save Our Storefronts NY; Downtown Women for Change; CUFFH; New York Communities for Change; On Leong Merchants Association; Brooklyn Asian Civilian Observation Patrol; The Desiree Alliance
Carlina Rivera, a Lower East Side native, has represented her home neighborhoods on the East Side in City Council District 2 since 2018. She serves as chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice and has passed more legislation than any other incumbent, on issues from sexual harrassment to affordable housing and bicycle safety.
One of Rivera’s priorities is to “end the housing affordability crisis,” she told Our Town Downtown in a statement, by building more housing, funding NYCHA, harnessing federal funds and backing development of affordable housing.
Health care is also at the top of her list; She intends to focus on COVID-19 recovery, treating gun violence as a “public health epidemic” and protecting access to abortion. She envisions improving transportation as a way of reviving the city, by funding public transit accessible to aging communities and focusing on street safety and environmental sustainability.
U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat and Nydia Velázquez; Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso; City Council Members Alexa Avilés, Diana Ayala, Erik Bottcher, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Eric Dinowitz, Amanda Farias, Jen Gutierrez, Kamillah Hanks, Ari Kagan, Sandy Nurse, Keith Powers, Lincoln Restler, Rafael Salamanca Jr., Lynn Schulman, Althea Stevens and Marjorie Velazquez; Former City Council Member Margaret Chin; NYS Democratic Committee Members Anthony Feliciano, Jenny Low and Michelle D. Winfield; District Leaders Louise Dankberg, Shawn Garcia, Jonathan Gardenhire, Daisy Paez, Reshma Patel, Aura Olavarria and Sandro Sherrod; Former District Leader John Blasco; 1199SEIU-UHWE; Local 2507, Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors; Local 3621 Uniformed EMS Officers Union, FDNY; NYS Iron Workers District Council; Transport Workers Union of America; Transport Workers Union Local 100; 504 Democratic Club; Coalition for a District Alternative LES; Emgage NY Metro PAC; Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; New York League of Conservation Voters; PODER PAC; Stonewall Democrats of NYC; United Democratic Organization; Voters for Animal Rights; #VOTEPROCHOICE; over 30 activists, local business owners and community members
Brian Robinson, a father and member of the Jewish community, founded a consumer advocacy company in 2010. He holds a bachelor’s in Political Philosophy from Tulane University and wrote “Adderall Blues,” a book about his experience with Attention-Deficit Disorder, as he describes it.
Robinson told Our Town Downtown that one of his top concerns is public safety, particularly relating to homeless shelters that he said “endanger neighborhoods and the homeless population by allowing severely mentally ill and violent offenders hideout inside with no background checks,” for which he’s calling for federal oversight.
He’d advocate for community input on all construction projects relating to coastal resiliency and supports a bill requiring the creation of more green space in the district, he said. For “struggling” small businesses, he proposed lowering taxes.
District Leader John Fratta; Bogardus Plaza President Victoria Weill; The Center for Resilience Founder Leo Flanagan; Kings Pharmacy Owner Jones Chan; New Yorkers for Safer Streets; Enforce NYC
Jo Anne Simon
Jo Anne Simon, who lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, currently serves as the NYS Assembly Member to District 52, spanning from Dumbo to Park Slope. She’s passed legislation pertaining to gun safety and education and has been a longtime civil rights lawyer and activist.
Simon champions reproductive rights and intends to “fight like hell to protect access to abortion here and for women across the country,” according to her campaign website. She also wants to address gun violence by stopping the movement of guns into New York and by enacting “federal protections.”
For the environment, Simon is a proponent of publicly-owned renewable energy sources. “We don’t have time for half-measures with the climate crisis before us,” her website states.
Former NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery; NYS Senator Roxanne Persaud; NYS Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Peter Abbate, Linda Rosenthal, Steve Cymbrowitz and Patricia Fahy; Former NYS Assembly Member Joan Millman; Former City Council Member Margarita López; NYS Committee Members Ben Yee, Rachel Lavine and Joanne Seminara; Former NYS Committee Member Josh Skaller; Former District Leader Chris Owens; Activist Ravi Ragbir; NYCHA TA Presidents Karen Blondel, Valerie Bell and Joe Anne Brown; Moms Demand Action; Independent Neighborhood Democrats; Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats; Downtown Independent Democrats; Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn
Yan Xiong, an activist who attended college in China, was a student protester during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He later served in the U.S. Army and states on his campaign website that elected officials “must choose diplomacy over costly or deadly fights.”
Addressing housing insecurity is at the top of Xiong’s list. It’s a problem he intends to tackle by advocating for a decade-long investment in rental assistance vouchers. “We [must] also focus on protecting homeless LGBTQ+ youth, a growing injustice in our district,” he told Our Town Downtown in a statement.
Prioritizing future generations with a focus on education and mental health is also on his agenda. “I would sponsor legislation that takes action to elevate student outcomes while also bettering school environments,” he said. In the realm of crime and safety, Xiong is supportive of legislation to get guns off of the streets.
Xiong does not yet have any major endorsements.
Also on the primary ballot are Democrats Peter Gleason and Jimmy Jiang Li, who could not be reached for comment and for whom endorsement listings do not exist.