June 22, 2020

Races we’re watching in the New York Primary

Tomorrow is New York’s Primary Election and there are a lot of interesting races. It’s notable because some of the competitive candidates in these races have come out and have made peace and diplomacy with Iran a top priority. We assessed some of these races and wanted to highlight some of the ones we thought were most important to put on your radar.

Two years ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez secured a major upset victory against a 10-term incumbent and Democratic Caucus Chair, Joe Crowley. Since then, she has become a progressive champion in Congress, including issues that affect the Iranian-American community. She’s been a strong and consistent advocate against Trump’s Muslim ban, boldy criticized the assassination of Quasem Soleimani, and came out strongly against the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA. Most recently, she led the effort on a bicameral letter to the US Treasury about suspending sanctions amid COVID-19. Now she faces a contentious primary battle against Wall Street backed candidate, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.

The incumbents in these two districts are facing progressive contenders challenging them on their JCPOA voting record. Representative Eliot Engel (NY-16) holds a significant position in Congress as the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. While he has used that position to prevent Trump from launching a war with Iran, he has also been a long-time supporter of Iran sanctions and even voted against the JCPOA. This is a point that his primary opponent Jamaal Bowman, who believes in a progressive foreign policy agenda, has used to criticize Rep. Engel on the campaign trail.

Similarly, in District 12, candidate Suraj Patel has criticized Rep. Carolyn Maloney for opposing the deal. In contrast, Patel describes himself as a proud advocate of the JCPOA who advocated for the deal while working in the White House.

There are also two open seats we have our eye on this year in Districts 15 and 17 with candidates that have included the priorities of our community on the campaign trail. In District 15, we have Michael Blake, who spoke at NIAC’s 2019 Ruby Gala in NY about the importance of ending the Muslim ban and strongly condemned the Trump Administration’s provocations with Iran at the beginning of this year, stating that Americans do not want a war with Iran.

In District 17Mondaire Jones has listed returning to the JCPOA as one of his national security priorities, in addition to ending endless wars.

The New York primary is on Tuesday, June 23. Polls are open from 6 AM to 9 PM EST. If you live in New York, you can look up your polling location here.

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