The chairman of the New York Democratic Party on Wednesday berated the progressive group Justice Democrats after it backed a primary challenger to longtime Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyFDA ends restrictions on mailing abortion pills during pandemic Hillicon Valley: Parler claims it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot | Warner presses Zuckerberg to tackle vaccine misinfo on Facebook, Instagram | U.S. schools increasingly resuming in-person learning Parler says it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot MORE (D-N.Y.).
Jay Jacobs issued a stinging statement over Justice Democrats’ support for Rana Abdelhamid, a 27-year-old member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), arguing in support of Maloney’s progressive bona fides.
“There is no question that Abdelhamid has every right to run for Congress and to primary a sitting incumbent Democrat. However, the argument that she and her ‘Justice Democrats’ and ‘Democratic Socialists of America’ allies put forth that Carolyn Maloney is not progressive enough is just pure nonsense,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs credited Maloney, the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, with supporting anti-rape legislation, a bill to enhance benefits to 9/11 first responders and a slew of coronavirus relief measures, including $1,400 stimulus checks to families, boosted unemployment insurance and increasing the child tax credit. He also touted her backing of election reform legislation and statehood for Washington, D.C.
“Make no mistake about it. This challenge is not about progressive causes. This challenge is about one thing: power. Maloney has it and the DSA wants it. Maloney can proudly stand on her record,” Jacobs said.
“The DSA and Justice Democrats have a long history of cherry-picking the districts they compete in, the opponents they believe they can beat and the issues that they choose to talk about. Well, with Carolyn Maloney, this time, they have picked the wrong opponent.”
The primary challenge marks the latest salvo in the fight between establishment Democrats and the party’s progressive flank.
Justice Democrats first burst onto the scene in 2018 when it helped now-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap The Memo: How liberal will the Biden presidency be? Five hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill MORE (D-N.Y.) defeat former Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary.
The group then helped Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) defeat former Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance Engel Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Progressives target Manchin, Sinema with new PAC State Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies MORE (D-N.Y.) in a primary battle last year, marking the second time it had toppled a top House Democrat in a deep-blue New York district.
Justice Democrats did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding Jacobs’s statement, but the group earlier on Wednesday cast the primary challenge from Abdelhamid as part of a generational fight against the party establishment.
“Voters and activists all across the district have made clear that they want to help usher in a new generation of leadership into the Democratic Party free of corporate money and dedicated to uplifting all of our communities,” the group’s executive director, Alexandra Rojas, said in a statement.
Abdelhamid panned Jacobs, saying his rebuke was an attempt to divert attention away from the scandals surrounding Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew Mexico governor settles with former campaign aide over claim of unwanted sexual behavior Fauci fatigue sets in as top doc sows doubt in vaccine effectiveness New Mexico governor signs marijuana legalization bill MORE (D).
“If my primary job was defending Andrew Cuomo, I’d be looking for an excuse to talk about literally anything else too,” she tweeted. “This unhinged statement is beneath anyone claiming to represent Democrats — it could have been written by Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE.”
If my primary job was defending Andrew Cuomo, I’d be looking for an excuse to talk about literally anything else too.
— Rana Abdelhamid (@RanaForCongress) April 14, 2021
Updated at 3:25 p.m.