Jones Wins His Primary & Torres Leads Homophobic Ruben Diaz Sr. In Crucial Congressional Races

Candidate Mondaire Jones. Alex Acaro/Medium

Today Mondaire Jones won the Democratic primary for New York’s 17th Congressional District and is on-track to become one of the first openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress. The seat is considered a safe pickup for Democrats, making it highly likely he will win in November. If Jones and Ritchie Torres – a candidate for New York’s 15th Congressional District whose race is still too close to call – both win in November, they will become the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress in U.S. history.

Ritchie Torres took an early lead in the race for New York’s 15th congressional district on Tuesday, June 23, garnering 30 percent of the votes cast in a highly competitive field that includes Ruben Diaz Sr – one of the most homophobic and transphobic Democrats running for Congress. Diaz ended up polling in third place.

Diaz got himself in trouble in 2019 when he made anti-gay remarks against openly gay City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “When I get to the City Council, I find that the City Council is controlled — most council members out of 51 council members — over there, everybody is controlled by the homosexual community,” Diaz Sr. said in an interview with a Spanish-language TV program for cab drivers. He later doubled down on his words on Twitter. 

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Ritchie Torres received a ton of support that is helping him possibly secure his position. Major press outlets like The New York Daily News and New York Times have endorsed him for the role.

Another supporter of Ritchie’s is Christian Cooper, who made national headlines when a white woman named Amy Cooper (no relation) unjustly called the cops on him in Central Park last month. 

“Ritchie in his own person unites a whole bunch of things. He is openly gay. He is Latino. He is the intersection of a couple of things that are about equality and justice where people aren’t getting their fair shake,” Cooper told New York Daily News

In the weeks before the primary, polls showed Torres and Rubén Díaz Sr. neck-and-neck with seven additional progressive candidates trailing far behind. In early June, LGBTQ Victory Fund led a coalition of LGBTQ groups in calling for progressive candidates to drop from the race and support Torres to avoid Diaz winning the seat by default. Earlier, Victory Fund joined Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America in leading a coalition of organizations calling on voters to defeat Díaz.

Credit: Richie Torres Instagram

In as statement from VictoryFund.org‘s President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker, elaboration is made on both wins of Torres and Mondaire Jones.

Richie and Mondaire have shattered a long-standing political barrier with their primary wins, putting them on-track to becoming the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress. Black LGBTQ people – like all LGBTQ people – are severely underrepresented at every level of government, but this gives hope that we are moving toward building a U.S. Congress that is more representative of the people it serves.

Today, Mondaire Jones [also won his race in the] Democratic primary for New York’s 17th Congressional District and is on-track to become one of the first openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress. The seat is considered a safe pickup for Democrats, making it highly likely he will win in November.

The VictoryFund.org also highlights Torres as “on track to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress.”

The final results in the Torres race will be announced on June 30 when all the large number of mailing votes are counted. 

Best of luck to Ritchie in the final count! 

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