Longtime starter Eniot follows Jamaal Bowman in the New York home primaries

Jamaal Bowman is not yet claiming victory in his high-profile challenge from Congressman Eliot Engel, a 31-year-old incumbent and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but Bowman has a strong initial lead.

He was ahead of Engel by 20 points on Tuesday night, although more than half of the venues remained to be counted. In any case, his great performance in New York’s 16th district is an encouraging sign for progressive Democrats, who helped recruit and supported Bowman’s campaign in the months leading up to primary.

“Eliot Engel used to say he was a thorn stuck in Donald Trump’s side, but do you know what Donald Trump is more afraid of than anyone else? A black man with power,” Bowman said in his main nightly speech.

“If the results continue to confirm, and we get to Congress, it will be our job to hold Donald Trump accountable and hold accountable all politicians who remain committed to corporate interests … and are not fighting for the poor and the working class in our country.” .

Bowman’s campaign officials said they were surprised that he is leading in venues where Engel was expected to have strong support.

Engel’s campaign said it did not expect the race to be decided Tuesday night because there are “too many pending absentee votes.” State law requires that absentee ballots filed in New York begin counting eight days after Election Day. Ballots received before June 30 will also count, as long as they have been postmarked before June 23.

Because the coronavirus pandemic, absentee ballot requests were sent to each registered voter. That could benefit headlines with support in wealthier areas like parts of Manhattan, as a significant number of people from those areas left their homes early in the outbreak.

This year at least 1,857,638 absentee ballots were mailed in the state, a huge increase from the approximately 115,000 that were cast in the 2016 presidential primaries. According to the city’s Board of Elections, more than 708,000 ballot requests came in absence.

The Westchester County Board of Elections mailed nearly 100,000 ballots in the Democratic absence, with at least 86,836 in the Bronx. District 16 encompasses parts of Westchester and the North Bronx.

Bowman’s campaign reflects Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 run against Congressman Joe Crowley, a progressive campaign that painted the headline as absent and an awkward coincidence with the New York City district.

“This is that time for all of us, and the results show that this district is demanding change. This is what this district has been waiting for, this is what this country has been waiting for,” Bowman added.

A former principal of the Bronx school, Bowman was buoyed in the months leading up to the election by a combination of Engel’s failures and a backup list by Ocasio-Cortez, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. It didn’t help Engel that in May, an Atlantic reporter caught him lying about being in his district for a coronavirus-related event. Weeks later, during a press conference in the Bronx about recent protests over police brutality, Engel was caught by an open microphone asking for permission to address the crowd, saying, “If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t mind.”

In New York’s 12th arrondissement, challenger Suraj Patel is on a close run with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee. She beat Patel by almost 20 points in 2018. But early results show that Patel leads in parts of the borough of Queens and Brooklyn, and follows Maloney slightly in Manhattan.

In an election night statement, Patel said: “We are confident in our path to victory after a very strong performance on Election Day, which traditionally favors established voters. More than 58% of New Yorkers have rejected the incumbent’s policy in the past. We have a mandate for change, and the bottom line will reflect that. “

City Councilman Ritchie Torres is easily winning in an open seat in New York’s 15th district. He directs Rubén Díaz Sr., a controversial pastor who has supported Republicans and invited President Trump to his church.

In District 17, attorney Mondaire Jones leads the race for former position of Congresswoman Nita Lowey.

In New York’s 14th district, Ocasio-Cortez passed on her main challenge from former journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who spent $ 1 million on her own campaign and was endorsed by the United States Chamber of Commerce.

New York City saw several problems with polling places on Tuesday, and many voters flocked to social media criticizing delayed openings and the distribution of incorrect ballots. About 30,000 voters also did not receive their ballots in absentia on time, forcing them to vote in person early or on the day of the primary.

Perry Grossman, a voting rights attorney for the New York ACLU, said that while the Board of Elections had to deal with an unprecedented number of absentee ballots, on Tuesday it showed “some major flaws.”

“This is a massive stress test for elections at the national level and probably in New York in particular. And there are real flaws in the system that we have to address,” he said.