Embattled City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan is dropping her re-election bid in a crowded race for her Central Harlem seat, she announced in an Instagram post Tuesday morning.
“Dear supporters and volunteers, thank you for seeing the true possibility for racial love in the loveless land of politics — it is not easy to do,” Richardson Jordan wrote. “Unfortunately, I’m writing this to inform you that I have decided not to seek re-election and not to commit to another two years.”
“I look forward to finishing out this term,” she added.
Richardson Jordan didn’t immediately respond to a call and message left by a reporter Tuesday morning.
The Democratic socialist council member was first elected in 2020 by just 114 votes over former state Senator and Council Member Bill Perkins — who died Monday night. She was vying to keep her seat against a packed field in the June 27 Democratic primary that includes Assembly Members Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan) and Al Taylor (D-Manhattan) and Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five — formerly known as the Central Park Five.
All 51 council seats are up for grabs just two years after the last election, as opposed to the regular four-year council election cycle, because the body’s district maps were redrawn last year following the U.S. Census.
Richardson Jordan appeared to draw such a large number of eager rivals after she vehemently opposed the One45 rezoning in Central Harlem, that would have brought 458 income-restricted “affordable apartments” — making up 50% of the project’s units, to an underused stretch of 145th Street. Following her opposition, the developer backed off of the project and decided to turn the site into a truck stop instead, though he filed to give the rezoning another go in February.
Richardson Jordan’s stance on One45 coupled with several controversial Tweets she authored, including one where she appeared to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and her anti-police stance have drawn ire from more moderate local Democrats and made her appear vulnerable to a primary challenge.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger said it was Richardson Jordan killed her re-election chances when she opposed the One45 development. The union endorsed Taylor’s campaign.
“For once, Council Member Kristen Richardson Jordan is doing the right thing for her constituents,” Geiger said, in a statement. “While she quit before formally losing her reelection, the message it sends is still the same: you cannot win re-election in New York City if you are against union jobs and affordable housing.”
Dickens, who formerly held the seat from 2006 to 2016, before running for the Assembly, voiced her support for all women of color in government and said Richardson Jordan did the “best she could” for the district.
“I applaud the political participation of all women of color. I started my own political journey as a local organizer and worked my way up to the state legislature, and if there is one thing I have learned it is this: we need women of color in rooms where decisions about our lives are being made,” Dickens said. “I’d like to thank Kristin for her service as [a] council member. She did the best that she could for her community and that is all that anyone can ask of her.”
Salaam, in a statement, also thanked Jordan for her “service and commitment to the Harlem community we call home.”
“This race is about the future of Harlem and I am running because we need real change that lifts up our seniors, gives people opportunities, improves our schools, enhances public safety and creates affordable housing,” he said.
In his own statement, Taylor acknowledged Richardson Jordan’s decision not to seek re-election must not have been easy.
“I give my deep regards to the councilmember for what must have been a difficult and somber decision,” Taylor said. “We run for office because we have a passion and conviction for making things better for our neighbors and communities. I respect her decision and I wish her only the best in the next chapter of her life.”
Progressive Democratic Strategist Camille Rivera, a partner at New Deal Strategies, told amNewYork that while she doesn’t know the exact reasons why Richardson Jordan dropped out, her decision changes the dynamics of the contest. Rivera also said it’s “sad” that another woman of color has decided not to run.
“I think it becomes a race that is more open,” Rivera said. “I do think it’s sad to me, I mean this is another woman of color who has decided not to run. And despite whatever folks have said and not been supportive, she’s always done her best to be on the right side of things … I mean she is a progressive, she is somebody that people did trust, but sometimes the stuff just becomes too much.”
This story has been updated with additional statements.