A conservative, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage congressional candidate is one of the favorites to win this Tuesday’s New York Democratic primary in what has been called “the bluest district in America.”
New York City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. has a history of stirring up controversy, yet he is a top candidate among the 12 contenders in the Bronx running for the congressional seat left vacant by the retiring Democrat Jose Serrano.
“There’s a real risk that a Trump Republican masquerading as a Democrat could represent the bluest district in America,” one of Diaz’s opponents, New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, told CBS News.
The district Diaz is looking to represent, New York’s 15th, is located next to the one represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is among the most left-leaning members of Congress.
FILE- In this June 24, 2011 file photo, Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. , D-Soundview, speaks during a session of the New York state Senate at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
“I am the opposite of AOC in the South Bronx,” Diaz told Patch.com last year.
Diaz, who is the founder and pastor of the Christian Community Neighborhood Church, has openly opposed same-sex marriage and abortion, but says his religiously-based ideology is not grounded in bigotry.
Still, Torres said that a victory for Diaz “would be one of the greatest tragedies of 2020.”
Diaz caused controversy last year when he said the City Council was “controlled by the homosexual community” and refused to apologize for it. Months later, during a sexual harassment training session the City Council held, Diaz stated he would not report misconduct by his employees, saying, “I’m not gonna rat my people out!”
The winner of the Democratic primary is widely expected to win in November, due to the overwhelming percentage of Democratic voters. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district with more than 93 percent of the vote.