The Candidates

Mike Lawler (NY-17)

Republican Rep. Mike Lawler is vying to retain his seat in 2024 after flipping New York’s 17th Congressional District from a 10-year incumbent and the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Despite the fact that the district leans Democratic, has voted Democratic in previous presidential elections since 1992, and is also known for its significant Jewish population, Rep. Lawler said he was “honored” to be endorsed by top House Republican Elise Stefanik, a promoter of antisemitic conspiracy theory. Rep. Lawler has voted in line with Republican MAGA extremists 81% of the time, and has remained silent as his GOP friends have echoed the same white nationalist “invasion” and “white replacement” conspiracy theories that inspired domestic terrorists who committed massacres in cities like Buffalo, El Paso, and Pittsburgh. 

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Donald Trump, MTG, and Speaker Johnson support mass deportations, including Dreamers, mothers of US citizens & and our long-settled neighbors, friends, and family. Does @RepMikeLawler support this extremism? https://showmeyourfriends.org

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  • Lawler provided a critical vote to help deliver the passage of H.R. 2, also known as the Child Deportation Act: Rep. Lawler’s first immigration vote of the new Congress was to help deliver a nativist wish-list that offers no solutions to our nation’s broken immigration system, and instead proposes a slew of Trump-era proposals, including stripping unaccompanied minor children of critical protections. Lawler’s Republican colleagues promoted this legislation with white nationalist conspiracy theories about “replacement” and “invasion” that have inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks. In his statement supporting H.R. 2, Lawler named the fact that his wife is an immigrant but tried to justify his support for the bill by peddling the debunked and pernicious myth about a supposed “open border.” Lawler also said lawmakers must “work together to secure our border” and “end this broken system.” In reality, H.R. 2 would do the exact opposite.
  • Lawler joined GOP House extremists in giving thumbs-up to racist resolutions: In June 2023, Rep. Lawler joined his extremist colleagues in approving two baseless but dangerous resolutions advancing the racist conspiracy theories and paranoia targeted at immigration and immigrants. One resolution pushed bigoted falsehoods about migrants supposedly posing a threat to communities. The second resolution, from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), introduced baseless impeachment articles against President Biden. One glance at the resolution showed this effort was instead about advancing the party’s embrace of deadly, white supremacist “invasion” rhetoric. This dangerous and bigoted rhetoric would again come to play during the sham impeachment effort against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • Lawler voted to make a great replacement theory promoter for the new House Speaker: Last fall, Rep. Lawler was one of 220 House Republicans to unanimously vote to make Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana the new Speaker. Johnson, America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas previously noted, “has gone farther than most of his Republican colleagues in elevating alarmist and dangerous rhetoric.” Even though Rep. Lawler initially went against the MAGA Republican’s nominee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a key amplifier of the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory and completely unworkable and cruel demands, including the Child Deportation Act. But after that vote failed, Rep. Lawler then voted for someone even more extreme, cementing conspiratorial rhetoric “at the highest levels of power,” as observer Greg Sargent noted.
  • Lawler voted for impeachment efforts driven by white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracies: In one of the most egregious votes in recent Congressional history, Rep. Lawler supported the sham impeachment effort against DHS Secretary Mayorkas, even though he was initially against the impeachment because it hasn’t met the “high bar” of impeachment. Extreme members of the House repeatedly peddled white nationalist “invasion” rhetoric and antisemitic replacement conspiracy theory as part of their effort against Mayorkas, who is a Jewish Cuban-American refugee. “You don’t have to be a Holocaust survivor like me to be concerned,” wrote Abraham Foxman, former National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. “The murderer who shot at a synagogue in Poway, CA claimed that Jews were responsible for the genocide of ‘white Europeans.’ Mayorkas has publicly warned against the growth of conspiracy and hate fueled extremist violence.” But despite warnings from Jewish organizations, constitutional scholars, and former GOP officials, Rep. Lawler chose party over country and continued normalizing dangerous rhetoric putting a target on the backs of communities.
  • Lawler remained silent as Trump echoed Hitler with vile “poisoning the blood” remarks: Rep. Lawler has refused to condemn former President Trump for his despicable claims that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America. This incendiary language is virtually indistinguishable from Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric, but when given the chance to distance himself or disavow this horrific language, Trump instead doubled down. Republicans and their right-wing allies have also been engaged in a campaign spreading nativist conspiracies in order to justify subverting democracy amongst supporters, socializing the idea that any election result they do not like can be blamed on this conspiracy of fraudulent immigrant voters. Yet Rep. Lawler has remained silent as Trump has echoed the language of dictators, and as his extreme colleagues have used immigrants to sow doubt and distrust in our electoral process.
  • Lawler prioritized the passage of dehumanizing legislation over improving the lives of working families: While Rep. Lawler was working to pass dehumanizing legislation targeting vulnerable families and children, such as the Child Deportation Act, he’s done vanishing little while in the majority to improve the daily lives of working families. An ABC News analysis found that the 118th Congress, which saw Republicans in control of the House following the 2022 midterms, to be the least productive in U.S. history. Criticism even came from within the party, when Rep. Chip Roy, one of the most far-right members of the GOP caucus, questioned how Republicans can claim to stand for something, “and then do nothing about it.” But instead of trying to deliver solutions for working Americans, Rep. Lawler has joined extreme colleagues in prioritizing anti-immigrant legislation and a sham impeachment driven by conspiracy theories.

Rep. Lawler has also remained silent as leaders within the GOP have called for “shooting” migrant families at the southern border, and as Speaker Johnson has vowed to not take up any legislation that would constructively address immigration and the border as long as a Democrat is in the White House. Rep. Lawler would continue to be a rubber stamp for the Republican agenda and their failed chaos and cruelty approach to the border. He offers no real solutions to address the concerns at the border while his friends embrace dangerous conspiracy theories, jeopardizing all our safety. Rep. Lawler’s friends are bullies and extremists who demonize our communities and have spent their time in the majority pushing dangerous conspiracies that threaten our public safety and our democracy. Rep. Lawler’s friends show us exactly who they are.