Mondaire Jones on verge of becoming 1st openly gay Black man in Congress
As Election Day draws closer, News 12 is taking a closer look at one of the key congressional races in the Hudson Valley - the 17th Congressional District seat.
It was one of the most packed congressional primaries in the nation - at one point there were as many as 15 Democrats jockeying for the seat.
In the end, it was Mondaire Jones, a 33-year-old political newcomer from Rockland County, who received more than 40% of the vote.
Jones is on the verge of becoming the first openly gay Black man to become a member of Congress.
He is a Harvard Law School graduate and former Westchester County attorney - and now a rising star and a bonafide darling of the progressive movement, with endorsements from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Jones says he's painfully aware of the hardship millions of Americans are experiencing right now, having grown up in Section 8 housing and surviving on food stamps. While he's never held political office before, Jones says he's ready to take that struggle to Washington and fight for a long list of causes he's passionate about.
The race for the 17th District is traditionally decided on primary night because Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2 to 1, but voters will still see four other names on the ballot this year.
The names include:
Maureen Schulman, the Republican primary winner, who was a two-decade trailblazing FDNY firefighter. She is now a retired grandparent living in Yorktown.
Schulman beat Yehudis Gottesfeld in the GOP primary, but the 25-year-old chemical engineer and Rockland native is still running on the Conservative line.
Josh Eisen, of Harrison, is running as an independent.
Michael Parietti is running under a minor party line called the Serve America Movement.