John Kerry, 'Squad' member make picks in race to succeed Nita Lowey

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

One-time Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and a member of “The Squad” are the latest to make picks in a crowded primary to succeed retiring Rep. Nita Lowey.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley is announcing she’s supporting Mondaire Jones, a South Nyack resident looking to become the first openly gay black member of Congress. Pressley’s support of Jones comes on the heels of a high-profile endorsement he netted from Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Kerry, a former senator who ran for president in 2004 against George W. Bush, endorsed Chappaqua resident Evelyn Farkas, who worked as deputy assistant secretary of defense of President Barack Obama. Kerry served as secretary of state under Obama.

Racking up endorsements is one way the candidates are looking to separate themselves from the pack in a field were there could be 12 candidates on the June 23 primary ballot.

For Jones, 32, the pickup of Pressley’s endorsement amplifies his campaign as a progressive activist. Pressley is one of four left-leaning House members elected in 2018 nicknamed “The Squad,” which also includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Pressley, of Massachusetts, said in a statement that the White House was “assaulting” civil rights and “basic humanity.

“Our response must be to elect bold, progressive leaders who will not only resist efforts to take us backwards, but who will fight every day to move us forward,” Pressley said.

In Kerry’s endorsement of Farkas, 51, he said he’d known her since his presidential campaign 16 years ago.

“I've seen her in the Situation Room, where difficult decisions were once made with judgment, values and expertise — three attributes that define Evelyn,” Kerry said.

The endorsements from nationally known political figures are drawing a contrast from local politicians in the region, who have largely trying stayed out of the Democratic primary so far as to now draw political heat and choose one friend over another.

So far staying out of the fray are Lowey and every neighboring member of congress, County Executive George Latimer and nearly every state lawmaker in the region. Candidate state Assembylman David Buchwald has touted endorsements from municipal government officials, County Clerk Tim Idoni and several local party committees in Westchester.