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State Democratic chief Jay Jacobs beats no-confidence vote

State and Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs speaks

State and Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs speaks at the Inn at New Hyde Park on Nov. 2 in New Hyde Park. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — State Democratic Committee chairman Jay Jacobs got a vote of confidence Tuesday from the committee after progressive members forced a no-confidence vote and an uncomfortable conversation about the party's messaging.

A group of progressive Democrats introduced the no-confidence resolution after Republicans won key races in New York, including on Long Island, on Nov. 2 despite the Democratic Party’s more than 2:1 voter enrollment advantage over Republicans.

The no-confidence measure failed in a 144-25 vote.

"It finally resolves the question that’s been brewing and percolating since Election Day, so I’m glad we brought it up," Jacobs told Newsday.

"It’s not my position that we can’t do better," said Jacobs, who also serves as Nassau Democratic chairman.

"It’s just that we shouldn’t form a circular firing squad every time the election cycle causes Democrats across the country to lose," he said. "This wasn’t a problem of state leadership. We have to do better, all of us, on messaging."

Proponents of the no-confidence resolution said they hadn't aimed it at Jacobs.

Instead, they called it an attempt to force a conversation about how to better combat "lies and misinformation" by Republicans.

Nobles Crawford, who represents the Washington Heights district of the state Democratic Committee, led the effort to pursue a no-confidence vote.

"I think Jacobs is a great person and I think that from a Democratic leadership perspective he has done a great job in the past," Crawford told Newsday.

The committee vote was intended to spur, "the conversation of how we defend against Republican propaganda, lies and misinformation," Crawford said.

"Our natural response is to explain the facts, but that takes 30 seconds to a minute," Crawford, a media and marketing manager, said.

"What is the central messaging point that Democrats need to use, top-down, that would actually defend us against these Republican attacks?" Crawford asked.

"We feel the Democratic leadership is not taking that serious enough … We can’t just blame the cycle or blame the national red tide," he said.

On Election Day, Democrats suffered major losses in races for Nassau County executive and district attorney and Suffolk County district attorney.

Democrats also lost control of the Suffolk legislature.

Statewide, three of five ballot propositions proposed by the Democrat-led state Legislature were defeated.

Republicans called it a red wave against the liberal policies of the Democratic Party.

Jacobs was appointed as state Democratic chairman by former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has supported Jacobs since taking office after Cuomo's resignation in August.

Under Jacobs' leadership of the state party, Democrats won control of the state Senate and a veto-proof majority in the state Legislature.

Democrats hold every statewide elected position.

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