New York City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) announced Tuesday, May 16th that she would be concluding her reelection campaign and leaving office at the end of the year. A significant factor appears to be the substantial pressure from media and political opposition, as reported by fellow Council Member Charles Barron, who called it a “damn shame.”
Richardson Jordan, a rising political star in Harlem, has been under intense scrutiny from the media and opponents. Criticisms include her slow response to police shootings in her district, her controversial tweets about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and her poor attendance record. She notably opposed a mixed-use development project, One45, in her district, which she argued had too many market-rate units and was excessively tall.
The councilwoman faced serious opposition from three other contenders in the upcoming Democratic primary, namely Assembly Members Inez Dickens, Al Taylor, and activist Yusef Salaam. Dickens and Taylor’s districts overlap with Richardson Jordan’s, while Salaam enjoys support from Manhattan Democratic Chair Keith Wright.
While Barron, Richardson Jordan’s closest ally, attempted to dissuade her from stepping down, the constant negative media coverage, as Barron described, left a lasting impact. Despite their shared radical socialist ideologies and their challenges to traditional political structures, Richardson Jordan, unlike Barron, found the political pressures insurmountable.
On the other hand, a consultant for an opposing campaign speculated that Richardson Jordan may have underestimated the amount of work involved in being an elected official. She will still appear on the June 27th primary ballot, having missed the deadline to decline her spot.
In an Instagram post announcing the departure from the race, Richardson Jordan said, “Thank you for seeing the true possibility for radical love in the loveless land of politics – it is not easy to do! Unfortunately, I am writing this to inform you that I have decided not to seek re-election and not to commit to another two years. I want to thank all those who have stood in solidarity and all volunteers for your time and hard work. I look forward to finishing out this term.”
The news of Richardson Jordan’s decision to end her reelection bid has been received positively by some groups, with potential rivals appreciating the opportunity to redirect their resources. Richardson Jordan, however, remains resolute in her mission to continue fighting for “community care, economic justice, abolition, liberation, and radical societal change.”
The vacuum left by Richardson Jordan’s departure places the spotlight firmly on her opponents. Dickens and Taylor, veteran assembly members, and Salaam, a passionate activist backed by Manhattan Democratic Chair, are all poised to take over the role. Richardson Jordan’s decision may be a game-changer in the upcoming Democratic primary, and the effect of this move remains to be seen.