Bronx City Councilman Rubén Díaz, Sr. and his Brooklyn colleague Chaim Deutsch are both making bids for Congress.
But they’re both avoiding the debate stage and ducking most interviews.
Both are social conservatives with histories of making homophobic statements.
And both are wild cards in primaries dominated by progressives who could split the vote.
What You Need To Know
- Both are conservatives who benefit from a splitting of the progressive vote.
- Díaz has deep name recognition in the Bronx, where he's known for his giveaways.
- Deutsch could be spoiler in his Brooklyn race, where he seeks the Orthodox Jewish vote.
“What stands risk to happen is to have someone who does not reflect those progressive values of the Ninth Congressional District, somebody who thinks it’s OK for Israel to annex Palestinian territories," Councilman Brad Lander said. “That’s why my colleague Chaim Deutsch is in the race. He could walk away with the election.”
Lander was urging fellow liberal Jews to back incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke against Deutsch in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the potential of Díaz winning a soon-to-be-vacated House seat in the Bronx inspired the launch of a political action committee dedicated to electing anyone but him.
“New York’s 15th Congressional District is one of the bluest in the country and Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr. is essentially a Republican," said Eric Koch, strategist for Bronx United. "He said he’s open to voting for Trump, he is constantly opposed to women’s right to choose, he has insulted the LGBT community.”
Díaz has name recognition and decades of visibility in the Bronx, where his namesake son serves as borough president.
He’s known for his giveaways:
His filings show he’s spent more than $25,000 in campaign funds on donations and gifts — from meals to toys to haircuts.
“No campaigning, just work,” Díaz told NY1 off-camera as he distributed groceries.
His hands-on approach is documented live for his Facebook page.
The Pentecostal minister also livestreams remarks some Sundays.
“En su corazón odio para nadie porque entonces ya no entra el cielo," Diaz said in one.
Similarly, Deutsch has a weekly radio show as a platform.
He appeals to Orthodox Jewish and Russian voters. He could be a spoiler in a primary where the four other candidates are black.
Díaz appeals to Spanish-speaking church-goers. He could take a majority of voters in a race where 11 others are competing.
And while a recent Díaz ad shows off a multi-racial coalition, a scary Deutsch one touts him as the law-and-order candidate.
“Gangs of looters roaming thorough the city, fires burning in the streets, cops being stabbed, cops being beaten and spit on," Deutsch narrated.
Deutsch didn’t return requests for an interview.
Díaz’s campaign rejects any arguments that he’s not a true Democrat, saying he’s aligned with the party on nearly all issues but gay and abortion rights.
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