Changes to our NYC Mayoral race endorsements

Regardless of who wins the mayoral race, we’ve always known that we need to elect as many of our down-ballot endorsed candidates as possible — people with deep accountability to our movements and commitment to co-govern and fight like hell with us for transformational policies.

Dear JFREJ members,

Last week was a pretty rough one in New York City electoral politics. Rough enough to prompt us to make changes to our NYC Mayoral race endorsements.

Because this is a long email, we’re just going to get straight to the point: We are no longer endorsing Dianne Morales as our #1 ranked choice. Following a vote on Tuesday by our steering committee, the result of which our endorsement team approved yesterday, Maya Wiley is our #1 ranked choice for NYC Mayor. Maya’s commitment to the care economy and her willingness to stand up to police unions, along with her expertise creating and embedding racial equity policies throughout local government, are what we need right now. Her campaign has the best chance of bringing progressive momentum together to defeat Andrew Yang and Eric Adams.

Regardless of who wins the mayoral race, we’ve always known that we need to elect as many of our down-ballot endorsed candidates as possible — people with deep accountability to our movements and commitment to co-govern and fight like hell with us for transformational policies. And we’re going to need them!

JFREJ members overwhelmingly chose to endorse viable candidates with the boldest policies that most aligned with our priority issues. We have tried to use the new opportunity of ranked choice voting to bring candidates together and build coalitions strong enough to win. For mayor we endorsed three candidates, hoping to define a progressive unity ticket to stop the Wall Street-backed candidates favored by police unions and real estate developers who want this city to be a playground for the wealthy.

We’ve had some real disappointments in the last month, even with our understanding from the start that we were organizing to send a “political target, not a savior” to the Mayor’s office. Two of our candidates have failed to live up to their professed values and commitments.

Their actions are demoralizing. They’re enough to make even the most committed activists want to give up on electoral work altogether. But we are not giving up. The stakes are too high. An Eric Adams or Andrew Yang administration would be devastating for our city, for young people, for disabled and older adults, for Black and Brown people, for street vendors and home care workers, for housing our neighbors and for keeping communities safe from policing and mass incarceration.

It matters who we elect as New York City Mayor.

We are disappointed in Dianne Morales for how she handled a series of escalating staff issues — most of all with the decision to fire four women leading the staff’s unionization effort — just as we were disappointed with Scott Stringer’s response to a serious accusation of sexual assault. We are saddened that Dianne and the staff union have been unable to reach an agreement that would end the work stoppage. In different ways, both Dianne and Scott fell short of what we expected from them when we initially endorsed their candidacies. And in both cases, their responses to valid concerns about their candidacies were decisive for us: The Jewish Vote cannot put our organizing power behind them.

However, ranked choice voting means we each can rank up to five candidates, in order of preference, in each race. We believe we can more successfully organize under the administrations of Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Kathryn Garcia, or Art Chang than under the alternatives. Given the current state of the race, it is now our assessment that filling our ballots offers the best chance of beating Yang and Adams. Therefore, after ranking Maya Wiley first, we encourage you to consider these four candidates for your other ranked votes, however your conscience guides you. While these candidates are far from perfect, all are preferable to Yang or Adams.

We only have a few weeks left to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and fight like hell for the city we love. Join us.

With gratitude,

Audrey and The Jewish Vote Steering Committee

P.S. We went into this endorsement process with some key principles: deep member engagement; demanding big and transformational policies that we believe are both pragmatic and popular; and a focus on grassroots candidates who commit to governing in partnership with our movements. We will be having lots of discussion post-election about the learnings from this cycle, and we hope you will join us. Stay tuned!