Updated Feb 21, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Former CNN anchor John Avlon announces run for Congress as a Democrat

John Avlon speaks in 2019.

John Avlon speaks in Toronto, Canada, in 2019. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Former CNN anchor John Avlon on Wednesday announced a run for Congress in New York's first district, adding to a crowded field of Democrats vying to unseat a first-term Republican.

Why it matters: The Long Island seat, currently held by Rep. Nick LaLota, was key to the GOP securing a razor-thin House majority in the 2022 midterm elections.

Driving the news: "Right now, our democracy's in danger," Avlon said in a video posted to social media Wednesday morning.

  • "This election is not a drill. It's up to all of us to step up and get off the sidelines," he added.
  • Avlon took aim at former President Trump, as well as "his MAGA minions, who don't even seem interested in solving problems anymore."

The big picture: Avlon left CNN earlier this month and previously served as editor in chief of The Daily Beast.

  • He was also a co-founder of the centrist group No Labels, which in recent months has considered launching a third-party presidential bid.
  • In a final piece for CNN, Avlon contemplated America's "exhaustion with politics and news," and took aim at the "cowardice and cynicism" of Trump and the House GOP.

What they're saying: In a statement Wednesday, the House GOP's campaign arm said Avlon's decision to run "adds even more leftist fuel to an already crowded dumpster fire of a Democrat primary."

  • "We look forward to litigating this smug, liberal hack's past," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Savannah Viar.
  • LaLota's campaign echoed the NRCC, calling Avlon "a Manhattan elitist without any attachments to Long Island other than his summer home in the Hamptons."

Between the lines: Democrats are fresh off a special election win in another New York congressional district — the one held by former Republican Rep. George Santos.

  • That victory thinned the House GOP's majority even further as the party struggles to pass key pieces of legislation.

Go deeper: House Dems launch N.Y. "war room" for 2024

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from the NRCC and LaLota's campaign.

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