The influential, left-leaning New York Working Families Party had a mixed night on Tuesday. While firebrand and progressive up-and-comer Rep. Jamaal Bowman lost his primary to more moderate George Latimer in New York's 16th Congressional District, the party’s other incumbents retained their seats, plus they racked up several Assembly primary wins. 

At the same time, the Working Families Party line may be being used by Republicans to trip up another congressional candidate in the Hudson Valley: former Rep. Mondaire Jones, with whom the WFP has a love-hate relationship with since he endorsed George Latimer. 

Jasmine Gripper, co-state director of the Working Families Party, said while Bowman’s loss stings, the rest of the night was positive, with the incoming WFP class of lawmakers being majority women of color.

“It’s something we really want to celebrate,” she said of primary victories for Gabriella Romero (AD-109); Chloe Pierce (AD-107); Clair Valdez (AD-37); and Larinda Hooks (AD-35).

The party expects Bowman to decline the WFP endorsement.

“Jamaal Bowman has the form to decline the line; he is responsible for submitting that to the [Board of Elections,” Gripper stated. “That is what was discussed, and he also mentioned during the debate that he would actually endorse Latimer. We are not going to give Latimer the line, no matter what.”

According to his campaign, Latimer has not asked for the line.

As for the WFP primary race in the 17th District between Jones and Anthony Frascone, Gripper doesn’t have much sympathy for Jones.

“Mondaire Jones made a decision to continue to punch left and to take the progressive base for granted, knowing that he needed that base to win,” she said. “It’s really unfortunate that it looks like he’s not going to win that primary.”

According to Gripper, Frascone has no connection to the Working Families Party, never went through the party’s endorsement process and is likely a Republican plant, something that was recently reported by Politico.

The Working Families Party went into this primary cycle with several candidates utilizing funding from the state’s new public campaign financing system.

“We are really excited that we finally are here with the public financing of elections in the state Legislature. This was huge,” Gripper said. “Gabriella Romero of Albany who won her Assembly race was the first candidate to max out on publicly financed elections. This really gave working class people a chance to contend for office in a meaningful way.”