State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, a progressive from Lower Manhattan, currently trails former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman by about 1,300 votes, with more mail ballots to count. Should the current results hold, she is considering a third-party run in what would be a fierce and expensive fall clash between national and city progressives and the Democratic Party’s moderate establishment. CNN has not made a projection in the primary.
Niou split support among left-leaning groups and endorsers with US Rep. Mondaire Jones — who moved to the city rather than be forced into a race with US Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the party’s House campaign arm — and City Council Member Carlina Rivera. Niou was endorsed by the progressive Working Families Party in the primary and, because of the state’s fusion voting system, could end up running on their ballot line in November.

“I’m currently speaking with WFP and my community about how we can best represent the needs of this district,” Niou said in a statement. “Because what we can do together is too important to give up this fight, we must count every vote. I’m so grateful for the outpouring of support and all of the people who showed up and turned out. Our people need and deserve a voice.”

Progressives’ failure to coalesce behind Niou, Jones or Rivera — who have ended up combining for nearly 60% of the vote at this point — seems to have helped Goldman, who spent millions of his own money to flood the airwaves and was quietly supported by an AIPAC-funded super PAC, United Democracy Project, which revealed its role in a statement after the primary.

Asked whether UDP’s boasting about its spending would further encourage her to run again, Niou touted her grassroots fundraising and support before criticizing outside groups that opposed her.

“The hundreds of thousands of dark money spent that attacked my campaign, attacked the people in my community and our values,” Niou said. “But despite these attacks, I am so grateful for the support of my community and proud of how we stood up to these baseless and dangerous attacks on our democracy.”

Anger over Goldman’s spending and perceived disconnect with large parts of the liberal district, mixed with confidence that Niou would fare better in what would effectively be a one-on-one matchup, sparked almost immediate chatter that she might, along with the WFP, seek a cleaner-cut rematch.

The fusion voting system allows candidates to run on multiple lines, but the WFP typically gives way to the Democratic nominee, which is often one of its endorsed candidates. Still, it can also wield the line as a tool to challenge a Democratic nominee in a city and state dominated by the larger party.

In order to maneuver the coming clash into place, Jones, who initially had claim to it, must formally decline the WFP line — a move that could come as early as Thursday.

But even before Jones announces his decision, some of Niou’s most prominent supporters were already publicly encouraging her to run again.

“Dan Goldman spent $4M of his own money to buy a Congressional seat & won only 25% of the vote,” actor and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Cynthia Nixon tweeted. “Yuh-line Niou came within striking distance w/ grassroots energy. Should @yuhline stay in & run as a WFP candidate in November? Donate NOW if you think (yes).”

George Albro, co-chair of the New York Progressive Action Network, also weighed in on Twitter, arguing that the coming general election provided an ideal ground for WFP to show its mettle.

“I helped found the WFP in 1998 with the idea of an independent (third party) which would not be a spoiler but could push the Dems to the Left. But there was always the option that in the right race, the WFP could run an (independent) candidate & beat a (corporate), conservative Dem,” he wrote. “CD10 IS THAT RACE.”

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By Richard

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