U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) votes at a school near his home on June 23, 2020 in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York.
Spencer Platt | fake pictures
On a tough night for New York City area progressives in Tuesday’s primaries, two powerful House Democrats, Representatives Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney, seemed in danger of losing their seats.
When the results of the vote by mail arrived, the principal at Jamaal Bowman High School led Engel by a staggering margin of more than 25 percentage points on Wednesday morning.
Bowman, a black man, took advantage of the discontent over the absence of the chairman of the district House Foreign Affairs Committee during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the backlash to the congressman saying he “wouldn’t mind” speaking at an event about brutality Police if I did not face a primary. Engel represents District 16 in parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.
“We celebrate this movement,” said Bowman, who ran on a liberal platform and garnered the backing of Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a de facto victory speech Tuesday night. “A movement designed to roll back a system that is literally killing us. It is killing black and brown bodies disproportionately, but it is killing us all.”
Jamaal Bowman speaks at a watch party as he takes an early lead in the Democratic Primary for the 16th Congressional District of New York in Yonkers, New York, USA. USA, June 23, 2020.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
In the nearby 12th arrondissement, which includes parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, Maloney closely leads attorney Suraj Patel. The chairman of the House Oversight Committee held a lead of less than 2 percentage points over Patel on Wednesday morning. The congresswoman easily defeated him in a 2018 challenge.
Maloney has been in Congress for over 25 years, while Engel has served for over 30 years.
Meanwhile, upstate New York City, a progressive supported by people like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez has a wide lead in the race to replace Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey. Mondaire Jones, who like Bowman supports “Medicare for All” and a green New Deal, had a lead of more than 20 percentage points on Wednesday morning in the suburban 17th district.
In the Bronx, Ritchie Torres, a member of the New York City Council, leads a field with the goal of replacing current Democratic Rep. José Serrano. Democrats hoped to avoid nominating City Council member Rubén Díaz Sr., who has a history of homophobic comments and opposes the right to abortion, in District 15.
If Jones and Torres win the seats, they will become the first openly gay black members of Congress.
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) arrives before the town hall meeting in the Queens district of New York City, New York, USA. USA, April 27, 2019.
REUTERS / Jeenah Moon / File Photo
Also in New York City, Ocasio-Cortez easily avoided a major challenge from his right. In District 14 of the Bronx and Queens, the prominent democratic socialist has an advantage of more than 50 percentage points over former CNBC presenter Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who was supported by a number of investors and business titans.
The full results of Tuesday’s primary election are unlikely to arrive for days, as election officials count ballots mailed to reduce risk during the pandemic. Careers can always change as more votes are reported.
Still, initial signs point to wins for progressives in a city that has screamed this year against justice, economic and healthcare systems that disproportionately harm people of color.
“Tonight we are demonstrating that the popular movement in New York is not an accident,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. “It is a mandate.”
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