Representative Carolyn Maloney, chair of the Oversight Committee, has been hanging on by a thread against progressive challenger Suraj Patel until officials can count the tens of thousands of remaining absentee ballots.
“I think what you’re seeing is across the district a rejection of the politics of the past, a rejection of the murder of characters in politics, and frankly, a rejection of the idea that simply having a job gives you the right to keep it,” Patel said in an interview.
Tuesday’s results are a much-needed victory for progressive insurgent groups like Justice Democrats, after a series of high-profile losses. Only a few months earlier, the group was left void in costly battles to eliminate Representative Henry Cuellar, a conservative Democrat, in Texas, or to replace Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) with a liberal rival of nearly half her age.
But the race against Engel, the progressives say, has demonstrated its staying power beyond the annoying now famous for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez two years ago against the then Rep. Joe Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House and a power in New York politics.
“When we challenged Crowley, everyone said he was crazy. When we won, everyone said it was a fluke, because Crowley never took her seriously, “Waleed Shahid, who directs communications for Justice Democrats, said Wednesday.” This victory really consolidates that there are many districts in this country where people want a more progressive representation. “
The shakeup in New York also marks a big moment for the Democrats’ left wing in the halls of Congress, including the Progressive Caucus of Congress of more than 100 members. The group has poured even more energy into Congressional races after the fall of their champion, Senator Bernie Sanders, in the presidential race for the more moderate Joe Biden.
And the caucus is likely to rise further in 2020 with more Democrats supporting its ambitious agenda to tackle climate change, provide universal health care, and overhaul the immigration system.
Tuesday’s primaries were a great test of the CCP’s political arm, which had backed two candidates in the uncertain New York primaries with double-digit candidates in each race. Both candidates, Ritchie Torres and Jones, are now on track to win in New York’s 15th and 17th districts, respectively, although races will not be called until after absentee ballots are counted next week.
Torres and Jones, who run for safe Democratic seats and are almost certain to win the November general election, would also be the first two openly gay black members of Congress.
Jones won the Democratic primary to replace retired Rep. Nita Lowey, while Torres, a New York City councilman, won a hard-fought contest to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano.
The CCP’s campaign arm increased its efforts to play in the open primaries this year, launching its first independent expense to back Jones. It was the first allied group to launch ads supporting Jones, spending nearly $ 200,000 promoting his candidacy.
His efforts this year were a huge leap from two cycles ago when the CPC PAC raised just $ 300,000 in total. Powered by small donations of dollars, it has raised more than $ 2 million so far in the 2020 cycle, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), CPC Co-Chair, said in an interview last week.
The CCP has also strengthened its relationships with other like-minded groups, such as the Campaign Committee for Progressive Change, Democracy for America and Indivisible, so that they can act together in House races.
“We have just professionalized the work that we are doing as a Progressive Caucus and we also have many progressive partners that we speak to and try to work in sync with,” said Pocan.
Ocasio-Cortez, who defended himself from his own main challenge on Tuesday, has also built his own campaign power in his first two years in office. The first Democrat raised $ 10.6 million in this cycle, and the vast majority came from small dollar donations. His PAC, Courage to Change, launched in January and has endorsed his own list of candidates.
The rise of the left in Tuesday’s primaries in states like New York, Kentucky and Virginia comes two years after the last impressive surprise in New York, with Ocasio-Cortez taking down Crowley, the president of the Democratic House. at that moment.
The Democrats for Justice entered the next cycle with half a dozen major races, seeking to unseat two sitting presidents. But before this week, only one was successful: Marie Newman fired Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), The last remaining pro-life House Democrat.
Bowman is now ahead for a virtually insurmountable lead in the Bronx, although the Associated Press is not expected to formally call the elections until New York counts its absentee votes.
The Democrats for Justice see the November elections of their candidates, except certain ones, as a sign of lasting impact for their organization. He will be on track to defeat four incumbents, including two leadership members, in just two years.
But Rep. Gregory Meeks (DN.Y.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus campaign arm, cautioned against reading too much about the high-profile victories of progressives. Meeks, as chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, has had his own progressive flank disputes and in the past has been critical of the left-wing movement to topple Democratic headlines.
Meeks pointed to the Democratic headlines that won Tuesday, including Rep. Yvette Clarke, who easily dispatched the same challenger who nearly beat her in 2018.
“Look at New York in particular: Yvette Clarke, it seems to be happening.” I’m winning. Jerry Nadler is winning. Carolyn Maloney is awake, ”Meeks said in an interview on Wednesday when asked about the progressive influence on the party.
“From my point of view, what we want to do is make sure that we are choosing individuals who are appropriate from their respective districts so that we can keep them in the Democratic seats and stay in the majority.”