Rep. Mondaire Jones planned out of-state 'mission' to elect Dems before moving to new NYC district
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Rep. Mondaire Jones said he will embark on a “mission” across multiple states after the August Democratic primary — a trip he announced before even moving to the congressional district he hopes to represent.

Jones, a first-term Democrat whose current seat covers most of Rockland County and part of Westchester, has said he relocated to Brooklyn in early June after throwing his hat in the ring to represent the reconfigured 10th Congressional District.

Despite not having spent much time recently among the constituents he wants to rep, the 35-year-old lawmaker said he would skip town to spread the word about the Democratic agenda following the election.

Jones discussed his travel plans during an episode of the “Stay tuned with Preet” podcast on May 31, telling host Preet Bharara he wants to use his voice as a political “leader” to convince voters in swing states to turn blue.

The congressman told Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, that he will begin barnstorming to help elect other Democrats once the votes from the August contest are tallied.

“I view my job between now and November as, after my primary is over, going to states where voter suppression laws have been enacted, and educating people about how to navigate those new laws,” he said, “and about the importance of re-electing people like Raphael Warnock and Mark Kelly to the United States Senate, and picking up just two more Democratic seats to make future filibustering of voting rights legislation an impossibility.” 

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., questions Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as she testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, May 10, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Jones said he intends on speaking to swing voters on “the importance of re-electing people like Raphael Warnock,” who was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2020.
Tom Williams/Pool via AP,

Jones had already announced his campaign for the Manhattan-Brooklyn House seat, rather than running for re-election in the 17th District, when the episode, released June 2, was recorded.

But the podcast appearance came seven days before he moved to Brooklyn, according to the New York Times, citing his rep. It indicates the congressman already had plans to traverse the country before schlepping his belongings to his new digs.

Jones registered to vote at an apartment building’s address in Carroll Gardens on June 13, according to city Board of Elections records. He was previously registered in White Plains in Westchester County.

When asked recently by a New York Times reporter when he moved to the district, Jones didn’t answer, pivoting away from the topic.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly speaks to supporters during the Election Night event at Hotel Congress on November 3, 2020 in Tucson, Arizona.
Democrat Mark Kelly was elected to the Arizona Senate in 2020.
Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

“Time is a blur, when you’re fighting to end gun violence in America,” he replied, before a spokesperson told the newspaper in a story published June 18 that he had moved on June 6.

Asked for more information on the congressman’s travel plans, a rep told The Post Jones is “on a mission” to fight for left-wing policies. 

“As Rep. Jones has shown by crisscrossing the district and all of New York City, he is on a mission to deliver progressive results for New Yorkers any way he can, and yes that includes helping protect the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate,” said the campaign spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt.

“Drawing on years of conversations with New Yorkers, Rep. Jones knows just how important a Democratic majority is in our fight to save our democracy, build an economy that works for everyone, and protect fundamental rights.”

Neidhardt did not address questions on the record about approximately how much time Jones plans to spend away from the Brooklyn-Manhattan constituency he wants to represent. He also did not say whether Jones will still set off on the trip if he loses the primary election, nor did he detail why the freshman lawmaker considers himself a national “leader.”

Plugged-in observers told The Post that Jones divulging he wants to fly away from Brooklyn before even moving to the borough was “unusual’ and “not a good idea.”

“It’s really unusual to, having never spent five minutes in a district, to announce that as soon as you win, you’re going to leave the district to campaign in other places,” said a high-level political operative, who is not affiliated with a 10th Congressional District campaign.

“Mondaire is much more interested in national attention than in knowing the issues that matter for Brooklyn and southern Manhattan, and that is apparent in the type of campaign he is running,” the source, who lives in the district, told The Post.

“People in Brooklyn want to know that you’re fighting for their issues and for their communities, and it’s hard to do that if you’ve never lived in the district, and as soon as you win, you tell them that you’re going to leave to try to raise your national profile.”

Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., is seen outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022.
Jones recently announced his campaign for a Manhattan-Brooklyn House seat, rather than running for re-election in the 17th District.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Sipa U

Jones advocating for liberal causes on the nation stage won’t bother voters — but prioritizing attracting the limelight over paying attention to local residents, the source predicted.

“I do think New Yorkers want someone who is going to fight for national issues. I don’t think fighting for national issues itself is the problem, but you can do that from Gowanus,” they explained. “All he’s saying is he is going to raise his profile by going off to campaign for other people when he doesn’t know the district yet.”

During the podcast interview, Jones and Bharara also discussed the expected overturning of Roe v. Wade after the Supreme Court’s draft opinion was leaked to Politico earlier in May. They also spoke about the then-upcoming ruling overturning a law that restricted the carrying of concealed firearms.

Bharara asked the congressman to predict the political impact of the rulings.

Issae Rae and Rep. Mondaire Jones pictured in this twitter photo posted on August 26, 2019.
Last year, Jones used a congressional COVID rule to assign another lawmaker to vote on his behalf on 17 House bills while he was away to attend Issa Rae’s wedding.
Mondaire Jones

“I’ve got to believe that people of good conscience — Republicans, Democrats, independents — will be appalled by what they are seeing come out of the Supreme Court, to say nothing about what my Republican colleagues have been doing or not doing, and vote their conscience,” Jones replied in the episode, titled “Will Congress Pass Gun Control?”

“That is my project as a leader in American politics,” Jones continued. “It’s not just to legislate, that’s not the way I view my job.”

Jones, a Nyack native who has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s backing in the race, in May opted to compete for the 10th District, instead of vying for re-election in his current district — which Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is seeking to represent — or vie for an adjacent constituency directly to the south.

Now, he is one of 15 candidates in a crowded race that includes ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou and Jo Anne Simon, as well as Councilwoman Carlina Rivera — all of whom have been elected for other offices to represent parts of the district. Donald Trump impeachment lawyer Daniel Goldman and former Congresswoman and city Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman are also competing for the post.

A civically involved Democrat who lives in the district told The Post Jones erred by admitting before being elected to the Big Apple-based seat that he wants to spend a significant chunk of time outside the five boroughs.

“I think that it’s not a good idea to publicly advertise that you’re, essentially, renting a seat for the purposes of running for office,” said the Brooklynite. “To tell people you’re not interested in getting to know your neighborhood that you’re running in I don’t think is a very wise strategy.”

His post-primary whereabouts speak to a broader pattern that could hurt his chances on Aug. 23, said the source.

“It’s not surprising. The guy moved 100 miles to run for office in a district,” the insider told The Post.

“His entire argument when he ran up in Rockland was that he was progressive and no one else was,” the source said, referencing his 2020 campaign.

But now, “I don’t think it’s that compelling.”

“He’s a serious candidate, because he has a couple million dollars in the bank so far, but it’s tough to see a deep rationale beyond that.”

Jones’ post-primary barnstorming traveling won’t be his first time leaving New York state of late.

In June, The Post reported that he last summer used a congressional COVID rule to assign another lawmaker to vote on his behalf on 17 House bills while he was away to attend HBO show creator Issa Rae’s lavish wedding on the French Riviera.

He apparently had no regrets; online congressional records show the jet-setting congressman asked again to vote via a proxy on the same day The Post exposed the existence of the series of remote votes.  

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