Candidates from the left wing of the Democratic Party held a significant lead in three House of Representatives primaries in New York after the vote tally on Tuesday’s machine, in a profound display of progressive political power.
One of the fighting could lead to the overthrow of an entrenched leader: Representative Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was following Jamaal Bowman, a Yonkers insurgent candidate.
If Mr. Engel, who has served in Congress for more than 30 years, were to lose, he would echo a similar malaise in 2018, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joseph Crowley, then House No. 4 Democrat.
But this year, the movement seemed to be broader as progressive Democrats led the way in contests for two open seats in the retired House of Democrats.
In the Bronx, Ritchie Torres, city councilman, led a group of contenders in the 15th Congressional District, where Representative José E. Serrano is retiring. Those who followed Mr. Torres included a veteran politician, Rubén Díaz Sr., a former conservative state senator with a history of anti-gay comments, who had been considered among the favorites.
And in the Hudson Valley district, held by Representative Nita Lowey, who is also retiring, Mondaire Jones, a Harvard-educated attorney, had drifted away from six other candidates in early returns.
Jones and Torres would become pioneers if elected in November: anyone would be the first openly gay black member of Congress.
All of Tuesday’s results came with a considerable caveat: State officials had cast nearly two million ballots in absentia to voters statewide due to the coronavirus outbreak, and those votes, which could be postmarked as late as Primary, they would not be fully counted for at least a week.
That means closed races can remain in limbo until July. One of those close races involves another veteran Democratic starter, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who was in a tight race with Suraj Patel, who ran against her in 2018.
Still, early returns seemed to confirm that the liberal wave that elected Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for Congress in 2018 has continued to build momentum.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had faced a primary challenge herself, but she easily brushed it aside, even when like-minded candidates, encompassing her call for a New Green Agreement and Medicaid for All, among other policies, they showed electoral strength.
That strength was perhaps most evident in the 16th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, and where Mr. Bowman had a great advantage over Mr. Engel, who was first elected there in 1988 .
The run there had illustrated the sharp schism in the Democratic ranks, with Mr. Bowman backed by many of the more outspoken progressives of the Democrats and Mr. Engel, fighting for his political life, seeking the rescue of more centrist party leaders. such as President Nancy Pelosi, former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
In a speech to supporters Tuesday night, Mr. Bowman, a high school principal, spoke out against poverty, racism, and sexism, among other social ills, “a system that is literally killing us.” . He said that, if elected, he would be a “black man with power.”
“That is what Donald Trump fears,” Bowman said, adding: “I can’t wait to get to Congress and cause trouble.”
Settlement Democrats could take comfort in easy wins for multiple incumbents, including Representative Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, had a comfortable lead over two contenders, and Rep. Yvette Clarke also led her career in Brooklyn, though, as elsewhere, thousands of votes remained to be counted. absence.
In fact, the sheer number of absentee ballots could be daunting for election officials, especially given the battles over vote-counting even before the coronavirus, such as last year’s disputed election for the district attorney in Queens. The outbreak sparked a series of changes at the polling stations, including social distancing and delays in opening in some places.