Progressive challenger Bowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary

Progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman holds a massive lead over 16-term incumbent Eliot Engel in the NY16 primary.

Dave Wasserment wrote:

At this point, I’d be massively surprised if Jamaal Bowman (D) doesn’t beat Rep. Eliot Engel (D).

Another Twitter user wrote:

If Jamaal Bowman defeats Eliot Engel, it will be a shattering loss for the Democratic Party establishment. They threw everything at him:

– $5 million in dark money smear ads

– Endorsements from Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo and Chuck Schumer

And he still won.

TheHill reports progressive insurgent Jamaal Bowman was leading Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) by double digits in one of the most heavily anticipated primaries of the year on Tuesday as officials continued to count votes.

Bowman, a former middle school principal who’s seen a late surge in the polls and fundraising, garnered 61 percent of the vote early Wednesday morning with 85 percent of precincts reporting. Engel, a 16-term incumbent, trailed in second with 36 percent of the vote.

A win by Bowman would provide progressives a huge political scalp as a number of insurgent candidates have launched challenges against establishment Democrats or longtime incumbents. Their bids have received a boost amid the nationwide protests against racial injustice roiling the country after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Bowman would also become the second New York progressive to defeat a senior lawmaker after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) stunned the political world by defeating former Rep. Joseph Crowley in a 2018 primary.

However, the count so far does not account for a surge in absentee ballots seen in New York as the coronavirus pandemic has led states to boost their mailed vote options. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered mail-in ballot applications to be sent to every registered voter in the state for the primary, which was delayed from late April.

As of June 12, nearly 1.1 million absentee ballot requests had been received by election officials. By comparison, fewer than 158,000 absentee ballots were requested in the 2016 presidential primary, according to the state Board of Elections.

In New York, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and received no later than June 30, meaning that officials there will still be counting absentee ballots a week after the primaries.

Bowman cast an upbeat tone at a campaign speech Tuesday night, saying his campaign was part of a broader movement to combat discrimination in the country.

“So tonight as we celebrate, we don’t just celebrate me as an individual, we celebrate this movement, a movement designed to push back against a system that’s literally killing us. It’s killing black and brown bodies disproportionately, but it’s killing all of us,” he said.