Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) conducts a news conference

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) conducts a news conference outside the Capitol to reintroduce the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

(Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Progressive Mondaire Jones Launches Campaign to Reclaim US House Seat

"I'm running to finish the work I began," said Jones.

Pledging to "finish the work" he began when he served in the U.S. House from 2021-23, former Rep. Mondaire Jones launched a congressional campaign Wednesday in New York's 17th District, more than a year after redistricting in the state pushed him to leave the district and run unsuccessfully in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The progressive attorney announced his candidacy with a video posted on social media in which he described his working-class background and highlighted his work in Congress and his former constituents offered endorsements of his commitment to ending gun violence and strengthening infrastructure.

"Some people in my party got mad at me when I tried to block members of Congress from getting rich off the stock market or when I said no to taking money from corporations," said Jones. "I have never been Washington's choice, because I stand up to corruption."

"We've got to get Washington back on the side of working people," he added. "I know we can do better."

In Congress, Jones was an outspoken supporter of Green New Deal legislation and Medicare for All before the New York state Supreme Court threw out the state Senate Democrats' congressional map on the grounds that it was unfairly partisan.

A court-appointed special master redrew the map, placing Jones in the same district as former Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), a corporate Democrat who until this year chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which recruits candidates and raises campaign funds to elect Democrats.

Maloney angered progressives when he announced he would run to represent the 17th District, which includes several suburban communities north of New York City. Jones opted to leave the district and run instead in the 10th District. Both Democrats lost—Jones to Rep. Dan Goldman, a Democrat who largely self-funded his campaign, during last year's primary election; and Maloney to Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican, in the general election.

Speaking to News 12 Westchester on Wednesday, Jones expressed regret about forgoing Maloney's primary challenge.

"I never imagined that I would wake up one day and would have to decide against primarying a member of the Democratic party at a time when we were seeing an assault on our democracy," he said. "To that extent, yeah, I do regret not being the Democratic nominee last cycle."

Liz Whitmer Gereghty, a school board member and sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), is running against Jones in the Democratic primary. As Politico reported Wednesday, Gereghty "has been courting support from members of the Michigan congressional delegation."

Gereghty toldHuffPost Wednesday that she is committed to passing legislation regarding "gun control and abortion rights," but was "vague" about her position on policies aimed at addressing economic injustice.

"This is not a Washington-driven campaign or even a Michigan-driven campaign," Jones told HuffPost. "This is a campaign that is rooted in the Hudson Valley, in New York's 17th Congressional District."

Gereghty was endorsed late last month by EMILY's List, a national group that supports pro-choice female candidates, while Jones released a list of local leaders who are supporting his campaign.

The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, which was an early supporter of Jones' 2019 campaign, said the former congressman "worked to increase opportunity for all New Yorkers, including fighting to protect civil rights, expand access to affordable childcare, and tackle climate change."

"We are confident this track record combined with his grassroots support and positive vision for a more equitable America will resonate with voters," said Mayor Annise Parker, the group's president and CEO. "With growing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and racism across our country, including within the halls of Congress, Mondaire's election is a powerful symbol of hope for our community."

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