Democrats’ Empire State Split

Reps. Mondaire Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talk with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Capitol Hill in August 2021. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

State GOP chairmen in a number of battleground states are facing ire from within their own party after aligning with MAGA candidates in the midterm and failing to fulfill their most basic responsibility: win elections. 

But a mirror-image struggle for the future of a state political party is happening in traditionally deep-blue New York: Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs is batting away calls for his ouster in the wake of a red wave in the Empire State, despite Democrats outpacing expectations nationally.

It’s the progressive wing of the party that’s targeted Jacobs, who was appointed to the post in 2019 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and who prides himself as an “outspoken voice of the moderate wing of our party.” A letter published Nov. 14 and signed by more than 1,100 local Democratic leaders and party organizers in New York urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to move to oust Jacobs, blaming him for what they describe as the party’s failure “to commit the time, energy, and resources necessary to maintain our deep-blue status.” 

But Hochul has made clear she has no plans to replace him, and Jacobs has brushed aside calls to move aside as nothing more than progressive saber-rattling due to his yearslong refusal to endorse democratic socialists in key New York congressional and mayoral races. 

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