Politics

Businessman Josh Eisen of Harrison is the lone Republican seeking to succeed U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey in the 17th Congressional District. The candidate filing deadline is April 2. Photo Credit: Eisen for Congress
Adam P. Schleifer of Chappaqua, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 17th District, which includes Westchester and Rockland counties. Photo Credit: Provided
Former federal prosecutor Adam Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for Congress, released this campaign video on Jan. 13.
Former federal prosecutor Adam Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for Congress, released this campaign video on Jan. 13. Video Credit: Adam Schleifer for Congress

One Republican Candidate, 11 Democrats In 2020 Race For Open Westchester Congressional Seat

One Republican candidate has publicly stepped forward to run for U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey's 17th District Congressional seat being vacated at the end of 2020.

And even that lone Republican, businessman Josh Eisen of Harrison, has remained elusive so far. He's created an online campaign website and social media pages and filled out a Ballotpedia survey—among early indicators of his interest in the district that Lowey, a Democrat also from Harrison, has represented for more than three decades. 

Eisen has raised more than $600,000, a campaign spokesman said on Wednesday, Jan. 22, believed to be more than any of the Democratic candidates.

The 17th District includes Westchester and Rockland counties, with registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a more-than-2-to-1 margin. That means a Democratic primary winner—from a field of at least 11 candidates as of today—would face Eisen -- if he gets the GOP nomination -- on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

So far, these are the Democrats who have said they will run in the June 23 primary election: state Assemblyman David Buchwald; state Sen. David Carlucci of New City; veteran Asha Castleberry-Hernandez, an educator from Elmsford; Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration from Chappaqua; Sleepy Hollow resident Allison Fine, former chairwoman of the national board of NARAL Pro Choice America Foundation Village of Buchanan Trustee Duane Jackson; Mondaire Jones, of South Nyack, who worked in the Department of Justice under President Obama and the Westchester County law department; Rockland County resident David Katz;  Pleasantville Board of Education Trustee Shane McGaffey; county Legislator Catherine Parker of Rye and former federal prosecutor Adam Schliefer of Chappaqua.

The newest announced candidates include Jackson, best known for foiling a suspected Times Square bomber while working as a street vendor in 2010, as reported here by Daily Voice. Jackson was a congressional candidate in the adjoining 18th District in 2012.

Entering the race on Sunday, Jan. 19 was McGaffey, a former Republican who works as the station manager at Pleasantville Community Television. McGaffey has served on the Pleasantville Board of Education for the past 10 years and is a former school board president.

In media reports, McGaffey said that national issues such as advocating for women’s rights, equal pay, the impeachment debate and many of the social issues of the day are of critical importance.

On his campaign website, Republican candidate Eisen said he is the son of a Holocaust survivor and earned degrees at Queens College, New York University and Columbia University. Eisen is against Medicare for all, but backs a plan to offer tax credits for individuals willing to maintain quantifiable health standards. His other plans include investing in drone technology for transportation.

Schleifer, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, said he has a record of fighting hate and violence. Last Monday, Jan. 13, Schleifer released his first campaign video. Schleifer highlights his commitment to protecting every person’s opportunity to pursue their unique version of the American Dream and points to the heroes in his life who inspired and continue to inspire him in that commitment: his grandfather, Rubin Partel, a Holocaust survivor who risked his life to save others; his mother, Harriet Schleifer, who has fought tirelessly to make sure everyone gets a fair shake and his brother, David Schleifer, a very extraordinary young man with special needs who taught Adam how to be an advocate from the age of five.

“From the threats of gun violence and the recent shadow of antisemitic hate and domestic terror to the planetary danger of climate change to the need to ensure that everyone has access to quality affordable healthcare to the erosion of our institutions wrought by the Bully and Fraudster-in-Chief in the White House, we have our work cut out for us," said Schleifer. “My family’s example, along with my record of creative and pragmatic success on both the state and federal level imbue me with the faith that we can meet these challenges and repair the world.”

Schleifer graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999, went on to attend Cornell University and graduated with distinction with a dual degree in philosophy and government. Upon graduation from Columbia University Law School, he served two years as a federal law clerk. He later became an assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting major frauds and environmental crimes.

Buchwald, of White Plains, meanwhile, said his campaign is the only one to have earned the support of any Democratic Committee: Mount Pleasant became the sixth local committee to endorse Buchwald on Thursday, Jan. 16.

In the state Assembly, Buchwald introduced the New York TRUST Act, which enables Congress to request New York State tax returns for top government officials, a law which attorneys for President Donald J. Trump are suing to block. Previously, he served on the White Plains Common Council, worked as an economics researcher on antitrust issues and practiced tax law.

Candidates need to collect about 1,250 signatures on nominating petitions by an April 2 filing deadline to place their name on the ballot.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the 17th District by more than 230,000 to 102,000, according to the latest registration data, and there are more than 111,000 active voters without political party affiliation, according to the Board of Elections.