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Julia Salazar

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Julia Salazar
Personal details
Born (1990-12-31) December 31, 1990 (age 27)[citation needed]
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political party Democratic (2017–present)
Alma mater Columbia University (attended)

Julia Salazar (born December 31, 1990) is an American politician and activist. As a first-time candidate, she defeated incumbent New York State Senator Martin Malave Dilan to become the Democratic nominee for the 18th district in 2018.[1] She attracted national media attention for her views and statements and for being a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Early life and education

Salazar was born in Miami[2][3] in December 1990.[4][5] Her mother is an American citizen by birth, while her father was a naturalized citizen from Colombia; they divorced when she was young.[6][7] Salazar was raised in a conservative home and at 18, registered as a Republican.[4] In March 2010 she registered with the Independence Party of New York, mistakenly believing (according to a campaign spokesperson) that it meant she was an unaffiliated voter.[4]

Salazar attended Columbia University, but told the New York Times she did not earn a degree.[8] While at Columbia, Salazar was pro-life and a member of pro-Israel Christian student groups, but later became involved in campus Jewish life and tenant organizing.[5][9][6][10]

In 2011, a police report was filed by Kai Hernandez, former wife of New York Mets player Keith Hernandez,[11] accusing Salazar of attempting to gain access to Hernandez's accounts at UBS by impersonating her over the phone;[12] Salazar was arrested, but the charges were dismissed when the state prosecutor said the voice identification was insufficient to pursue the case.[13] Kai Hernandez said that Salazar had house-sat for the couple in the past.[13] A court dispute between Hernandez and Salazar followed, in which Salazar sought damages for defamation and won settlement in her favor.[11]

After college, she became a grassroots organizer and campaigned extensively for legislation around police accountability.[5]

2018 New York State Senate campaign

In April 2018, Salazar announced her candidacy for the 18th district of the New York State Senate.[14] She ran against incumbent Senator Martin Malave Dilan in the Democratic primary, which took place on September 13, 2018.[14][15]

Her campaign gained significant attention after the primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York's 14th congressional district.[15] She has been endorsed by Our Revolution,[16] the Democratic Socialists of America,[17] Cynthia Nixon,[18] and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.[3][5] Citizens Union initially endorsed Salazar but later revoked their endorsement, citing discrepancies in information she provided about her academic credentials.[19]

On September 13, 2018 Salazar defeated Dilan for the Democratic nomination.[20] She advances to the general election on November 6, 2018, where she does not face a Republican opponent.[21][22]

Dispute over personal history

Over the course of her campaign, journalists, including Armin Rosen, highlighted what they said were contradictions in statements about her personal life and family background.[7][23][24][25]

Salazar described herself as an "immigrant from Colombia" in interviews published in August, including one with the The Intercept,[15] and in campaign speeches and literature.[26][27] In interviews as early as May 5th, she explained that she was born in Miami at a time when her parents were living part of the time in Colombia,[3][6][23] and made clear that she was an American citizen.[24][25][28][29]

Salazar has described herself as Jewish, and said her father was a Colombian Sephardic Jew descended from the medieval community that was expelled from Spain, and that she started to explore Judaism in college.[7][6][25][30] Rosen said these claims could not be verified,[7][6][23] and her brother said their father "never mentioned" any Sephardic heritage to him;[31] Salazar's mother said that, although the family was Catholic on both sides, Julia's father's family had a Sephardic background, saying "that's where her interest stems from. This is not something that was invented for the purposes of this campaign."[8][6] Salazar said Rosen was engaging in "race science" and said he had "threatened to publish her mother’s personal information if she didn't cooperate."[26] In college, she studied Jewish texts and observed kosher food rules,[23][28][32] and was involved with the Jewish organization Hillel.[6]

Salazar has also described her family and upbringing as "poor" and "working class".[6] Her brother said their family was "upper-middle class" while Salazar's mother said the family was "a little bit of both worlds";[33][34] Salazar had a trust fund of approximately $685,000 in her name, left by her father.[35]

Sexual assault accusation against David Keyes

In September 2018, Salazar accused David Keyes, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of sexual assault, stating she was acting to preempt being outed as an assault survivor by a story in The Daily Caller that she learned was in the works.[36][37][38][39] Keyes denied assaulting her in a statement to Haaretz.[40] Eleven additional women subsequently came out with similar allegations of harassment or assault by Keyes.[41]

Political positions

Salazar is a self-described democratic socialist,[29] a member of the Democratic Socialists of America,[16] and a staff organizer for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.[14] She supports universal rent control in New York City,[42] decriminalization of sex work,[43] Medicare for All, the abolition of ICE, and guaranteed access to abortion services.[44] She also states that she supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which advocates boycotting Israel.[2]

Identifying as a democratic socialist, she characterizes democratic socialists as those recognizing capitalism to be an inherently oppressive system which democratic socialists actively works to dismantle while moving toward a socialist economic system. Contrasting progressives from democratic socialists, she identifies progressives as those offering pallatives within capitalism without advocating for system transformation but highlights their overlap in short term policy goals. She states her campaign is not about socialist transformation and the abolition of private property - which she currently sees as unrealistic goals - but is focused on pushing for changes that have a positive material impact in people's lives.[29]


  1. ^ Hajela, Deepti (September 13, 2018). "Another Socialist Victory: Julia Salazar Wins NY Senate Primary". WNBC. Retrieved September 14, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b Dunst, Charles (August 23, 2018). "In Brooklyn, a Jewish Latina democratic socialist rallies for a State Senate seat". JTA. Retrieved August 23, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Jilani, Zaid; Chávez, Aída (August 30, 2018). "NYC DSA, Ocasio-Cortez Stand by State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar, Despite Story Disputing Her Biography". Retrieved August 31, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c Lovett, Kenneth (July 23, 2018). "LOVETT: Self-proclaimed democratic socialist Salazar was first a registered Republican". Albany: New York Daily News. Retrieved August 9, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d Yadin, Daniel (July 4, 2018). "Running for State Senate, Julia Salazar Attempts Progressive Primary Upset". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Julia Salazar, the socialist politician accused of lying about her past, explained". Retrieved September 6, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c d Rosen, Armin (August 23, 2018). "Who Is Julia Salazar? Brooklyn State Senate Candidate's Complex Personal History and Views". Tablet Magazine. 
  8. ^ a b McKinley, Jesse (August 5, 2018). "Want to Be the Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Be Careful What You Wish". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2018. 
  9. ^ John-Paul Pagano (August 23, 2018), Julia Salazar, "Socialist" "Jewish" Candidate for NYS Senate, Defends Israel on Glenn Beck's TV Show, retrieved August 27, 2018 
  10. ^ "SD 18 Brooklyn (Williamsburg-Bushwick-Cypress Hills) | Metropolitan Council on Housing". Retrieved 2018-09-15. 
  11. ^ a b McKinley, Jesse (September 6, 2018). "An Arrest? An Affair? Keith Hernandez? Just Another Day in the Julia Salazar Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  12. ^ Ganeva, Tana (September 11, 2018). "This Is the Story of How a Campaign Goes Off the Rails". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  13. ^ a b "State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar Was Arrested in 2011 on Suspicion of Criminal Use of Personal Information – Tablet Magazine". Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c Katinas, Paula (April 17, 2018). "Salazar to challenge Dilan in Democratic Primary". Brooklyn Eagle. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  15. ^ a b c Adler-Bell, Sam (July 3, 2018). "Julia Salazar Is Looking to Land the Next Blow Against the New York Democratic Machine". The Intercept. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  16. ^ a b "Julia Salazar". Our Revolution. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  17. ^ "Our Endorsements". Democratic Socialists of America. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  18. ^ Kossov, Igor (July 2, 2018). "Nixon swaps endorsements with state Senate candidate". New York Post. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  19. ^ Jorgensen, Jillian. "Citizens Union drops endorsement of Julia Salazar, citing 'not correct' information about her academic credentials - NY Daily News". Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  20. ^ "Julia Salazar, a Democratic Socialist, beats incumbent in New York senate primary". AP News. Retrieved September 14, 2018. 
  21. ^ "Julia Salazar overcomes controversy to notch another victory for democratic socialists". 
  22. ^ "Inside Julia Salazar's Triumphant Brooklyn Primary Party: 'It's Time For Change Around Here'". Retrieved September 14, 2018. 
  23. ^ a b c d Dunst, Charles (August 24, 2018). "Amid controversy, NY State Senate candidate aims to clarify her Jewish identity". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved August 27, 2018. 
  24. ^ a b Williams, Zach; Adler, Ben (August 27, 2018). "There are many Julia Salazars. Which one is running for state Senate? A rundown of all the candidate's misleading claims about her personal history". City & State New York. Retrieved August 27, 2018. 
  25. ^ a b c Mikeliones, Lukas (August 27, 2018). "Socialist NY Senate candidate challenged over claims of being an immigrant, Jewish". Fox News. Retrieved August 27, 2018. 
  26. ^ a b Sommer, Allison Kaplan (August 26, 2018). "Fake Jews or Fake News? State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar Claims Racism After Jewish Identity Questioned". Haaretz. Retrieved August 27, 2018. 
  27. ^ Editorial Board (August 26, 2016). "State Senate candidate Julia Salazar seems to keep making up her past (ex cathedra editorial)". New York Post. Retrieved August 27, 2018. 
  28. ^ a b "Statement from Julia on Tablet Magazine". August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018. 
  29. ^ a b c Day, Meagan (July 6, 2018). ""It Really Comes Down to Empowering the Working Class"". Jacobin. Retrieved August 27, 2018. 
  30. ^ Fractenberg, Ben (July 16, 2018). "Julia Salazar Says Jewish Roots Helped Inspire Her Political Activism". The Forward. Retrieved August 2, 2018. 
  31. ^ Ruta, Garance Franke. "Julia Salazar Had a Trust Fund and Her Colombian Ancestors Were Catholic Elites". New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  32. ^ "Opinion - We Are Julia Salazar's Former Classmates. We Had To Speak Out". Retrieved September 6, 2018. 
  33. ^ Ruta, Garance Franke. "Julia Salazar Had a Trust Fund and Her Colombian Ancestors Were Catholic Elites". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  34. ^ "This Week in Julia Salazar She had a trust fund, her ancestors were Catholic elites, and she has a new version of her conversion story". 
  35. ^ "What the Julia Salazar Controversy Means for the Democratic Socialists of America | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  36. ^ "Julia Salazar Campaign Says Daily Caller Plans To Out Her As Sexual Assault Survivor". Retrieved September 11, 2018. 
  37. ^ "Julia Salazar for State Senate on Twitter". Retrieved September 11, 2018. 
  38. ^ "Julia Salazar accuses Netanyahu spokesman of sexual assault". September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018. 
  39. ^ Schapiro, Rich. "Brooklyn state Senate hopeful Julia Salazar says she was sexually assaulted by spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - NY Daily News". Retrieved September 11, 2018. 
  40. ^ Sommer, Allison Kaplan (September 11, 2018). "Netanyahu Spokesman Denies Sexual Assault Claim by N.Y. State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar". Haaretz. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  41. ^ Sommer, Allison Kaplan (September 12, 2018). "Ten More Women Accuse Netanyahu Spokesman Keyes of Improper Behavior". Haaretz. Retrieved September 12, 2018. 
  42. ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (August 2, 2018). "How the Democratic Socialists of America Learned to Love Cynthia Nixon". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 28, 2018. 
  43. ^ Chávez, Aída (August 17, 2018). "Sex Workers Are Rallying Behind a Democratic Socialist Running for New York Senate". The Intercept. Retrieved September 11, 2018. 
  44. ^ Halper, Katie. "Meet the Democratic Socialist Feminist Running for New York Senate". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2018-09-15. 

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