Hillary endorses Eliot Engel, AOC endorses his primary challenger Jamaal Bowman

Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two highly visible women in the Democratic party have endorsed opposing candidates.

The Hill reports former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton formally endorsed Rep. Eliot Engel (D) on Monday as the 16-term congressman faces a tough primary challenge from progressive Jamaal Bowman in New York’s 16th District.

“I have worked with Eliot Engel as first lady, as senator from New York, and as secretary of state,” Clinton said in a statement to The New York Times. “Every step of the way, his number-one priority has always remained the same: delivering for his constituents.”

The ongoing endorsements in the race illustrate the deep divide between establishment and progressive Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Clinton’s 2016 primary opponent, endorsed Bowman, a former middle school principal, last week.

“Jamaal understands that low-income families are locked out of opportunity and a decent life due to a system that is rigged to benefit the wealthy,” Sanders said in a statement. “In Congress he will lead the fight for investing in our public schools, ending mass incarceration, and addressing the housing crisis. He is someone we can trust to be a powerful advocate for a progressive agenda in Congress.”

Bowman has also received progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) endorsement. Ocasio-Cortez defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a surprise primary victory in 2018.

Engel faces what could be the most competitive primary challenge of his career in Bowman, drawing a number of comparisons between Ocasio-Cortez’s own fight against Crowley.