AOC-supported candidate defeats longtime Rep. Eliot Engel
New York Rep. Eliot Engel (D) has served in Congress for more than three decades and is currently the chair of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel will soon be packing up his office after losing his primary to a candidate endorsed by fellow New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D).
Jamaal Bowman (D), a former middle school principal, defeated Engel by a 15-point margin.
“I’m a Black man who was raised by a single mother in a housing project. 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,” tweeted Bowman.
Bowman had been endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D).
“Congratulations to @JamaalBowmanNY for winning the congressional primary in NY-16! Jamaal will be a powerful advocate for a progressive agenda and I look forward to working with him in Congress,” Bernie Sanders tweeted.
Engel was in the news recently as one of the lead sponsors of the House police reform bill and also recently played a key role in the impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump. He had been endorsed by the former senator from New York and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as well as the political wing of the Congressional Black Caucus despite Engel being white and running against an African American.
Bowman began to climb in popularity during late May and early June when nationwide protests over police brutality toward minorities began in New York and across the country. He says he wants to be a part of a new Congress that reforms the police and puts an end to racial inequalities.
“As a Black man in America, I know what it’s like to feel occupied in my own community,” Bowman tweeted.
Engel made a series of political missteps that played into Bowman’s narrative that the Congressman had lost touch with his district. The biggest came when it was revealed that Engel had spent the worst of New York City’s coronavirus crisis at his home in Maryland. Engel defended the decision saying that his house outside D.C. is larger than his apartment in New York, and so better accommodated to quarantining with his wife.
Bowman’s victory is being compared to Ocasio-Cortez’s upset in 2018 when she defeated longtime Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley.
New York’s 16th Congressional District encompasses parts of the New York City borough of the Bronx and portions of neighboring southern Westchester County.
PHOTO: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP
Scroll down to comment!