SCHENECTADY — Republican Jeff Moore has dropped out of the race for Schenectady City Council under pressure from his local party committee, newly aware of his controversial, conspiracy theory-laden social media posts from recent years.
During the Trump and Biden presidencies, Moore has publicly speculated that a number of high-ranking officials — foreign and domestic, and of varying ideological labels — have been conspiring to advance a global communist world domination scheme. Past posts show a spate of incendiary viewpoints surrounding Islam, LGBTQ+ issues, mass shootings and nationalism, as well as Holocaust comparisons.
“In the New Age of Communism, the ‘Toxic White Male’ is the new Jew…,” Moore wrote in a February 2022 post for Empire State Conservatives, drawing a comparison to the plight of Jewish people forcibly labeled by Nazis during the Holocaust. “Then came [COVID-19] and the ‘Unvaxed’ is the new Unclean.”
Moore’s decision to end his bid for elected office came Tuesday morning after a turn of events precipitated by reporting by The Daily Gazette. After his candidacy was announced last week, the Gazette researched his social media activity, revealing some disturbing posts. On Tuesday, the Gazette sent 52 posts from Moore to the city’s Republican Committee.
Schenectady GOP Chairman Matt Nelligan swiftly condemned Moore’s postings.
In announcing his withdrawl from the race, Moore declined to explain his social media history, but he apologized for not disclosing it to Republican officials before being tapped to run for office.
“Upon review of my social media posts, it’s clear to me that my opinions as expressed on various platforms would become a distraction to this important campaign to save our city,” Moore said. “Therefore, I voluntarily withdraw from the race. I apologize to Chairman Nelligan and the members of the Republican Committee for not disclosing these posts during the candidate review process and I wish the GOP the best of luck in the coming election.”
Nelligan said that he was aware Moore was a “prolific poster,” but didn’t know about his incendiary content until he saw screenshots provided by the Gazette. All posts encompassed two of Moore’s personal Facebook accounts, along with blog contributions for Empire State Conservatives.
Nelligan, whose ex-wife and three children are Jewish, was sharply critical of Moore’s remarks.
“I am a strong supporter of Israel, the Jewish faith and the Jewish people,” he said. “I will not tolerate any statements — knowingly or unknowingly — to the contrary.”
Wedged in Moore’s posts is a depiction of Islam as a religion bent on conquering the world and inflammatory remarks falsely describing U.S. Reps. Ilan Omar, D-MN, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, as jihadists. He’s also called Hawaiian-born Barack Obama, who lived four years in Jakarta during his childhood, a “senator from Indonesia” and a “man of Kenya.”
“There is simply no space in Schenectady politics and community engagement for islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, or any other form of xenophobia,” said Rev. Amory Tanon Santos, director of the interfaith Schenectady Community Ministries.
Moore’s culture-war criticisms are woven within long-form conspiracy theories — much of which expound on the origins and grand scheme of New Age Communism: a “hybrid of Socialism, Marxism, Communism, and Fascism grafted to a Corporate Oligarchy that includes ‘Big Tech,’ ‘Big Pharma’ and 99% of all Media.”
Examples of Jeff Moore posts (3)
In a 2017 post, Moore named a then-recent country music concert and church mass shooting shortly before writing that “socialist gov’t entities have never been above killing people to promote their agenda. Especially when losing or trying to gain control.”
“We also reject any and all conspiracy theories as harmful to our country and our body politic,” Nelligan said in a statement. “Our party and my campaign are focused on solving real problems for real people. In Schenectady there are more than we can count that require our attention.“
After the 2020 presidential election, Moore, a Trump stalwart, repeatedly claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from the 45th president through a bloodless coup. Around that time, he updated his cover photo to a picture of the words “Q AWAKE?” wiped on a foggy window.
His views on the last presidential race run in stark contrast to Nelligan, who believes Trump’s aversion to democratic norms is toxic for the national GOP and supports Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024.
Moore has reportedly voted in all but one presidential election, 2012, since he was eligible. His family, looking for work, moved from Chemung County to Schenectady amid the economic drought of Democrat Jimmy Carter’s presidency in 1980.
The 1986 Niskayuna High School graduate moved to Denver and eventually circled back to the Electric City in 2015. As a construction laborer, Moore centered the beginning of his campaign less than a week ago around building jobs and easing the housing crisis for working class residents.
His exit is the first withdrawal of this election cycle in Schenectady. GOP candidates Kevin Hammer, Bryan Barrett and Veerma Rai are still in the race. Five Democrats are vying for four seats on the City Council, including incumbents Carl Williams, Doreen Ditoro, and Carmel Patrick, and political newcomers Marva Isaacs and Joe Mancini.
Nelligan expects to find a replacement for Moore. The GOP is anticipated to soon release a slate of candidates for Schenectady County Legislature as well.
Schenectady County Democratic Committee Chair Frank Salamone condemned the rival group for bringing Moore into the picture. Nelligan’s Democratic rival Mayor Gary McCarthy described Moore’s blogging records as “conspiracies in the Twilight Zone and the theater of the absurd.”
“It’s unfortunate that we’re now seeing radical politics show up at the local level where it’s the vocal right and the vocal left and the center is silent,” McCarthy said. “Those things are just offensive, they’re shocking. I just wish we didn’t have to deal with them.”
Schenectady’s current City Council roster is engrossed in racially-tinged hostility between ideological factions. The city GOP called members of the group’s white moderate wing “imitation Republicans” following a failed 3-3 vote in the chamber over a resolution in support of pending state legislation, which would seal criminal records for a number of offenses post-incarceration.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.