The three decade tenure of Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel is officially over. Engel has been defeated by progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman despite being endorsed by Hillary Clinton, Pelosi, James Clyburn and Chuck Schumer.
Yahoo reports the three-decade tenure of New York Rep. Eliot Engel is set to end after losing the Democratic primary to progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman.
Bowman, 44, earned the endorsement of a number of progressive leaders in the party, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He was also backed by Justice Democrats, the influential left-wing group whose other endorsees include Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. Bowman was also endorsed by the New York Times editorial board.
“I’m a Black man who was raised by a single mother in a housing project,” said Bowman on Friday after the Associated Press officially called the June 23 race. “That story doesn’t usually end in Congress. But today, that 11-year-old boy who was beaten by police is about to be your next representative.”
Bowman had a sizable lead on Election Day, but due to a large number of absentee ballots that needed to be counted, the AP did not call the race until Friday. He noted his campaign saw a surge in interest and donations amid the widespread demonstrations against police violence leading into the last days of voting.
“From the very beginning, we anchored our campaign in the fight for racial and economic justice,” said Bowman on Friday. “We spoke the truth — about the police, about systemic racism, about inequality — and it resonated in every part of the district.”
The 16th District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester, is a majority-minority area. Public polling in the race had been scarce, but one late survey showed Bowman, a middle school principal, with a 10-point lead in the heavily Democratic district.
Engel, 73, won his first congressional election in 1988. After Democratic gains in the 2018 midterms, he became chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
His loss is the second time in as many primaries that a high-ranking New York Democrat has lost a primary to a progressive challenger, following Ocasio-Cortez’s defeat of Joe Crowley in 2018. Engel was also criticized for quarantining in Washington, D.C., instead of staying in his district, which was hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic.