County Executive George Latimer is running against Representative Jamaal Bowman, a Democrat from New York. It’s important to note that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Political Action Committee (AIPAC PAC), a Republican-funded action committee, provides significant financial support to Latimer’s campaign. AIPAC has contributed over $600,000 to Latimer’s campaign, which makes up 42% of his total campaign contributions of $1.4 million as reported to the Federal Election Commission.
If a candidate receives more financial support from Republicans than Democrats, can they still be considered a Democratic candidate? I remember a similar situation when former Mayor Andre Wallace, a registered Democrat, took the Republican party’s endorsement to remain in the mayoral race. However, he was criticized by the Democratic leadership in Mount Vernon, who accused him of being an undercover Republican. Accused by many of the same Democrats that are now supporting Latimer or silent about his GOP financial campaign support!
In the current election, we see a similar scenario with George Latimer. He is receiving contributions from Republican sources and even hosting fundraisers with prominent Donald Trump MAGA donors. This should raise questions among Black Democrats, especially in Mount Vernon, traditionally a Democratic stronghold. It’s sad that in this day and age in politics, Black Democrats in Mount Vernon and the rest of Westchester County are not asking themselves how it is possible for a candidate backed by MAGA supporters to have the same interest for me and my community.
It’s worth noting that this situation may be reminiscent of past events, and some are concerned that a candidate funded by Republicans may sway the Democratic party. It’s a situation that some find surprising, considering the legacy of figures like the late Reginald Lafayette, the former Democratic Chairman, who is up above looking on with dismay at how easily Democrats are being attracted to a candidate with racist Republican financial backing.
AIPAC, which Republicans fund, is providing significant financial support as part of its strategy to spend over $100 million to influence elections and challenge progressive Black and Brown Democrats in the House of Representatives. These progressive representatives, often collectively known as “The Squad,” are known for their criticism of Israel’s actions concerning human rights abuses against Palestinians which has been supported by the International Court of Justice’s ruling.
Lets not forget AIPAC has a history of active involvement in campaign finance and has even established a super PAC called the United Democracy Project, which spent millions opposing progressive candidates during the 2022 election season. AIPAC faced criticism for endorsing over 100 Republicans who supported overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election during that time.
To emphasize once more, George Latimer has received campaign donations from an organization that supports attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. These endorsements have raised concerns about whether the Westchester Democratic Party has been influenced or infiltrated by Republicans.
Latimer’s campaign has also received contributions from various donors, including venture capitalists, private equity partners, attorneys, and consultants. Some notable contributors include political strategist Bradley Tusk, who donated the maximum allowable amount of $6,600; oil trader Shai Barnea, who contributed $5,000; and Michael Benn, a partner at the corporate law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, who donated $3,300. Black Democrats, Hello! He is not your candidate!
Why this has not raised concerns, especially within the Black Democratic community, as it appears that some voters may not be fully engaged despite the abundance of available information. Supporting a candidate who is backed by Republican funding is contradictory to the values and principles typically associated with the Democratic Party.
Furthermore, there’s added complexity to the situation as Latimer’s campaign also has donor support aligned with the MAGA movement. These donors aim to challenge and defeat Black and Brown Democratic candidates across the county who advocate for transparency and human rights for Black and Brown individuals, particularly in the Gaza conflict.
In this context, it is so unfortunate that Black Democrats in CD16 may inadvertently express self-hate, a lack of self-awareness, and a disconnect from their community by supporting a candidate who appears to be influenced by MAGA donors while wearing a Democratic facade.
If these Republican-funded groups can use the slogan “Community First” and encourage Republicans to switch their party affiliation to diminish the Black vote while being the main contributors supporting George Latimer’s campaign to challenge the first Black Congressman in CD16. In that case, we can counter with our own “Community First” approach and reject their influence.