Angela Li / Sun Staff Writer

The Tompkins County Democratic Party hosted a virtual candidate forum for local candidates running in the State Assembly, State Senate and District Attorney primary. Pictured are the seven candidates for the democratic line in the race for assembly district 125, and Jim Gustafson, county party chair.

June 11, 2020

Outgoing Assemblymember Barbara Lifton Endorses Jordan Lesser ’03 for Assembly

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Jordan Lesser ’03 picked up a major endorsement in the competitive Democratic primary race for New York’s 125th Assembly District Thursday afternoon –– the current incumbent’s.

Retiring Assemblymember Barbara Lifton (D-N.Y.) endorsed Lesser, her former general counsel, just under two weeks from the primary election.

In a press release, Lifton explained how she originally did not intend to provide an “early endorsement,” but with such a crowded field, she felt she had a duty to provide an endorsement.

Lesser is one of two former Lifton staff members in the primary race –– the other is Ithaca Common Council Alderperson Seph Murtagh Ph.D. ’09 (D-2nd Ward).

Throughout his campaign, Lesser has drawn on his experience in Lifton’s office to portray himself as the most qualified candidate who will “hit the ground running.” Like the majority of the candidates, he is in favor of universal healthcare, climate change legislation and policing reforms.

Lesser graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2003 with a B.A. in history. He holds a J.D. from Tulane Law School.

As the Ithaca Times reported, Lesser had lagged in fundraising behind Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles (D-2nd District), Murtagh and Cortland County Legislator and Cortland County Legislator Beau Harbin (D-2nd District).

Meanwhile, former New York State gubernatorial candidates Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout, Eleanor’s Legacy — a statewide organization dedicated to electing Democratic women — and a group of more than 20 local women leaders have endorsed Kelles.

Kelles has also picked up a string of endorsements from local labor groups including the Tompkins-Cortland Building & Construction Trades Council, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267, Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union Local 3 and the Working Families Party.

Murtagh earned the endorsements of mayor Svante Myrick ’09, over 30 current and former colleagues on the Common Council and Tompkins County legislature, and the Ithaca Professional Firefighters Union.

Harbin has been endorsed by the Cortland County Democratic Committee, Progressive Change Campaign Committee and National Democratic County Officials, as well as six Cortland community members including former Cortland mayor Bruce Tytler.

The Democratic primary election will take place on June 23. Early voting starts June 13.

This story has been updated.