Niou trailed Goldman by only about 1,300 votes before absentee ballots were counted, and her supporters had pointed out that she and the third- and fourth-place finishers split the liberal vote, giving the more moderate Goldman a path to victory. Niou had avoided conceding and said she was weighing a run on the Working Families Party line, but on Tuesday she said she would focus her energy elsewhere.
“Enough of the absentee ballots have been counted, and we are conceding the primary, and I will not be on the WFP line for the general,” Niou said in her video. “We simply do not have the resources to fight all fights at the same time, and we must protect our democracy now.”
Niou vowed that she and her coalition of volunteers and supporters would instead throw their efforts into “keeping insurrectionists from taking control of Congress” and ensuring that Democrats retain majorities in the House and Senate — while noting that that is the “bare minimum.”
“We need better Democrats. We don’t need just a majority,” Niou said. “What we need is a working families majority, congressional majorities that will deliver on what the majority of Americans need and want: health care for all, child care, elder care, paid family leave, real student debt relief and fixing how we pay for college in the first place, affordable housing. A Congress that will actually care about us because it will finally be made up of us.”
Niou’s video was not an endorsement of Goldman, a Levi Strauss & Co. heir whom she criticized for spending millions of his own money on the race.
“We have a Congress that has more millionaires than there are people of color or working-class people,” she said. “Oligarchy is a system where people with economic power use that power to grab political power, which they in turn use to consolidate even more economic power. Let’s call it by its name and commit ourselves to dismantling it.”
Though the Democratic primary race results won’t be certified until Sept. 14, several party leaders — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — emerged to endorse Goldman shortly after he was declared the winner. In most years, the winner of the Democratic primary could safely be presumed the eventual winner of the general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.
In addition to Goldman and Niou, the field of Democratic primary candidates included Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who moved to the newly redrawn district to run after Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, chose to run in Jones’s old district; New York City Council member Carlina Rivera; New York Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon; and former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. At one point, former New York mayor Bill de Blasio also was part of the field before he withdrew from the race in July.
A chaotic redistricting process in New York created the diverse new district, which covers much of Lower Manhattan — including Chinatown, Wall Street and the Lower East Side — and parts of Brooklyn. In her campaign, Niou, who is Taiwanese American, frequently emphasized that the new district includes two Chinatowns, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. She received endorsements from several liberal groups and state lawmakers, as well as from the Working Families Party.
The New York Times endorsed Goldman, who was the lead majority counsel in the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. One of his TV ads features a clip of him testifying before the House Judiciary Committee before declaring: “Dan Goldman proved the case against Trump.”
He has said protecting democracy would be among his top priorities if elected.
“Voters know what’s at stake,” Goldman tweeted last month. “We need to protect our democracy and our fundamental rights. Everything is on the line, and we need members of Congress who have been on the front lines standing up to authoritarianism on the radical right.”
Azi Paybarah and Eugene Scott contributed to this report.