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Jun 3, 2024, 10:14pm EDT
politics

‘It’s disgusting’: Progressives seethe after Mondaire Jones backs Jamaal Bowman challenger

REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
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The News

House progressives raged against former colleague Mondaire Jones after he endorsed Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s primary opponent George Latimer.

“I am appalled,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. said.

In backing Latimer, Jones accused Bowman in a New York Times interview of causing “pain and anxiety” among his Jewish constituents with his rhetoric criticizing Israel. Democratic donors and groups supportive of Israel have poured millions into unseating Bowman this cycle. Jones, meanwhile, faces a competitive race to unseat Republican Rep. Mike Lawler.

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Both Jones and Bowman were elected in 2020, when a new, diverse slate of left-leaning Democrats headlined by fellow New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were ascendant in the House. Some of Bowman’s allies on the left took the move against him personally.

“It’s disgusting,” said Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who also faces a well-funded primary challenge this cycle. “Is that who he wants to be? Someone that the members can’t even trust? Someone that the members know will be your friend one day, and then as soon as it’s beneficial to him, will completely not only turn on you, but will go and support the person that is challenging you?”

Rep. Summer Lee, D-Penn. called the endorsement “incredibly disappointing.”

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“Here we have a former CPC and CBC member who’s endorsing against both a Progressive and Black man who was the first Black man in his seat,” she said. “So it couldn’t be me. But I think and I hope that people will look at that for what that is.”

Reached for comment by Semafor, Jones said in a statement that he has “a longstanding relationship with George” and that he is “making this endorsement to stand up for my Jewish constituents because Rep. Bowman and I have deeply different views on Israel.”

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Kadia’s view

Jones is in a tough position. Turning on Bowman could bolster his campaign against Lawler, a moderate who is also backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but at the risk of a break with his former Democratic colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. It would make for an especially awkward reunion in the House if Bowman and Jones both win their respective races.

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The View From Mike Lawler

Lawler scoffed when I asked him if he’d heard about the recent endorsement. He noted that Jones had previously said “we need more people like Bowman in Congress” in 2020. That quote has featured prominently in Lawler’s campaign material, a sign of the pressure Jones is facing to distance himself from Bowman.

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Notable

  • Bowman got a small boost in his race from a redrawn Congressional map this cycle, which now includes the middle school where he served as principal.
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