Dan Goldman, a former prosecutor who campaigned on a promise to oppose right-wing Republicans and former President Donald Trump, overcame a crowded and competitive field to win a rare open House seat in New York’s newly-drawn 10th Congressional District.
The race, which was called at 12:39 a.m. on Wednesday by The Associated Press, was one of the more suspenseful Democratic primaries in New York that pitted Goldman, the wealthiest candidate, against a field of progressive lawmakers, several with years of legislative experience representing the district and its constituents.
All told, there were 12 candidates vying for the seat, which represents Lower Manhattan and northwest Brooklyn.
In the end, Goldman — a 46-year-old first time candidate who poured $4 million of his own money into the race — prevailed with 16,686 votes over Yuh-Line Niou, a left-leaning state Manhattan assemblymember backed by the Working Families Party, who had the second highest number of votes at 15,380, according to unofficial turnout numbers. Hudson Valley Rep. Mondaire Jones came in third.
Goldman declared himself the winner on Tuesday night at his election party in Manhattan.
“While we will appreciate and respect the democratic process and make sure that all the votes are counted, it is quite clear from the way that the results have come in that we have won,” he said, as cheers erupted.
Speaking before the race was called at her election night party in Brooklyn, Niou, a 39-year-old Taiwanese immigrant, said she would not concede until every vote was counted. A crowd of young, energetic supporters burst into cheers when she walked into the party with tears in her eyes as she hugged almost every person she walked by.
"What we did together when I first ran for the state Assembly in 2016, I said I was betting on people, and I said that again in May, when I announced my run for Congress, and from early voting today, we have shown them why betting on people is always the right choice," she said. "I know that tonight’s results aren’t yet what we hoped to hear, but we will not concede until we count every vote."
Niou didn't immediately return a request for comment.
City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, another top candidate in the race, appeared to have conceded in her race as she stood with supporters at her election night party on the Lower East Side on Tuesday night.
“I want you to know that I’m going to keep serving you,” Rivera said. “I’m a proud public servant and damnit I’m good at it.”
Other candidates in the race included Brooklyn state Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.
The intense battle over an open seat in one of the city’s most liberal swaths came about after a contested redistricting process forced the congressional maps to be redrawn, resulting in split primaries in June and August.
Given the unusual late August primary, some had predicted that the race would hinge on absentee voters. Some 21,000 registered Democrats in the district requested absentee ballots, according to the city Board of Elections.
The candidates largely embraced progressive stances on major policy issues, including affordable housing, transportation, climate change, and voting rights. On public safety, however, Goldman positioned himself as a centrist, expressing concerns similar to that of Mayor Eric Adams on whether bail reform has contributed to repeat offenders. He appeared to voice support for a ban on late stage abortions during an interview with the conservative Jewish outlet Hamodia, but immediately walked back his comments, saying he was “unequivocally” in support of a woman’s right to an abortion.
But ultimately, it was the threat of Trump that shaped the race in favor of Goldman, who served as one of the lead prosecutors during the latter’s first impeachment trial.
In the final days, the former president inserted himself into the race by issuing a mock endorsement of Goldman that some of his rivals sought to use to their advantage.
Goldman, however, accused Trump of trying to meddle in the election.
“This is a pathetic attempt at fooling Democrats who are far smarter than Trump is,” his campaign said in a statement. “Buckle up Donald. Dan’s coming for you.”
The heated battle over an open seat in one of the city’s most liberal swaths came about after a contested redistricting process forced the congressional maps to be redrawn, resulting in split primaries in June and August.
With the new district overwhelmingly composed of Democrats, making it among the more liberal districts in the city, Goldman is nearly assured a victory in the general election as he faces Benine Hamdan, a risk analyst who ran on the Republican line unopposed.
More than a dozen candidates initially threw their hat into the ring ahead of the Democratic primary. The most well-known candidate, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, dropped out of the race last month due to a lack of sufficient support.
Goldman, an heir to the Levi Strauss clothing fortune, was considered a serious contender from the start given his financial resources and broad name recognition as an MSNBC contributor.
But it was not until he unexpectedly won the endorsement of the New York Times editorial board that Goldman catapulted to frontrunner status.
His opponents seized on Goldman’s lack of experience on local issues and his wealth, accusing him of buying the race with a flood of TV ads and mailers.
During the first televised debate hosted by WNYC and NY1, Jones and Holtzman questioned Goldman on why his stock portfolio included holdings in a gunmaker and News Corp., the conservative news outlet founded by Rupert Murdoch.
Goldman — who has pledged to put his investments in a blind trust if elected — later said he ordered his stockbroker to sell such stocks that did not align with his values.
Jake Offenhartz and Catalina Gonella contributed reporting. This story has been updated.