With a large number of missing ballots to count, the results in many of Tuesday’s primaries in New York are still far from final. But the partial returns clearly indicate strong performance by progressive candidates in the Democratic Congress primary election in and around New York City.
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Insurgent challenger Jamaal Bowman, a former high school teacher and first-time candidate, is close to ousting veteran Democratic Rep Eliot Engel.
Riding a wave of support in recent weeks from the biggest names on the left – Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and First Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York – Bowman was ahead of Engel by more than 25 percentage points, according to unofficial and incomplete results from the primary in New York’s 16th Congressional District, spanning parts of the Bronx in New York City and parts of neighboring southern Westchester County.
Bowman’s likely victory would be compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s successful 2018 primary victory over former Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, who created political shock waves.
Bowman visited Twitter on Wednesday to say, “It can’t wait to get to DC and cause trouble for those who maintain the status quo.”
Engel has served in Congress for more than three decades and is the powerful chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. But the incumbent was attacked in recent months for spending more time at his home in Potomac, Maryland, than at his apartment in the Bronx. And he recently went on the defensive after he was captured with a live microphone, suggesting that “if he didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t mind” speaking at an event in his Congressional district.
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Bowman, who is black, began beating out Engel, who is white, in the past month amid protests across the country over police brutality towards minorities and systemic racism caused by the death of George Floyd, a black man. who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota
House of Representatives Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney, who has served in Congress for a quarter century, is also fighting for her political life. Representing New York’s 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens boroughs of New York, Maloney holds a narrow lead over progressive challenger Suraj Patel. In 2018, Maloney easily rejected a challenge from Patel, a 36-year-old hotel executive and former member of the Obama campaign who touted her support for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
Progressive candidate Mondaire Jones, a favorite on the left, leads a three-way contest to get Democrat Nita Lowey out of the 17th congressional district of New York, which includes parts of suburban Westchester counties and Rockland.
In New York’s 15th Congressional District, where Democratic Rep. José E. Serrano retires after three decades in Congress, New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, the first openly gay person to win an elected office in the Bronx, it leads the vote. they count in a huge primary field of 12 candidates.
And Ocasio-Cortez, who faced an energetic main challenge from former CNBC presenter Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who enjoyed the support of parts of the New York City business community, crushed her most moderate opponent in the primaries. in the 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens.
Many of these insurgent challengers and candidates were supported by liberal groups, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).
“We are proud to have raised more than $ 115,000 in grassroots contributions for candidates on the ballot yesterday, a true testament to the energy behind progressive candidates at the moment,” PCCC spokeswoman Maria Langholz told Fox News.
And he predicted that “Mondaire and Bowman will be AOC’s close allies in Congress, and they will be strong leaders on key priorities like a green New Deal, Medicare for all, and hold big corporations accountable.”
The rise of these progressive candidates came amid protests across the country last month protesting minority police brutality and systemic racism caused by the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by the police in Minnesota.
“Timing is everything in politics,” said Jessica Taylor of the Cook Report, a leading nonpartisan political leader. “The national environment is in favor of some of these progressive candidates.”
The timing of the primaries may also have played a role in the results. New York was originally slated to hold its primaries in late April, but the contests were delayed due to health concerns about in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And geography may also be favoring progressive contenders.
“These are ultimately safe Democratic seats and are more mature for progressive challengers,” said Taylor. “These are safe districts for liberals to leave their mark.”