A Democratic primary candidate backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears to be cruising to victory in the race to represent the 16th congressional district.
Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal, was easily besting long-serving incumbent Congressman Eliot Engel by a 61-36 margin. The race — as all other races in New York state — won’t be officially called for days as election officials have to count thousands of mail-in ballots.
Engel was first elected in 1988 and was chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.
Engel, 73, serves as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The panel’s investigation into the firing of former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick drew a strong rebuke earlier this month from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Engel’s district encompasses southern Westchester County and the Bronx in New York City. He had secured a slew of powerful endorsers, including the Congressional Black Caucus, Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California, fellow New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Massachusets Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Hillary Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had also thrown their support behind Engel.
That didn’t seem to help Engel and may have hurt him with some voters who saw him as too old and too wedded to Washington.
As for AOC, she had no problem beating back a mild challenge from a former CNBC anchor.
Tuesday’s primary is for a seat in Congress representing parts of the Bronx and Queens. The seat is solidly blue and Ocasio-Cortez is favored to win the general election again in November. She will face retired New York Police Department officer John Cummings, who won the Republican nomination for the seat Tuesday.
Caruso-Cabrera ran as a pro-business moderate and earned the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent six figures to advertise for her against the far-left freshman congresswoman.
One interesting primary race in New York involved a Trump-loving Democratic preacher. Rueben Diaz wasn’t expected to do well in the bluest district in the nation, but you have to admire the guy’s guts for even running. He’s currently 3rd in the balloting.
Elsewhere. the president’s support didn’t help two other candidates.
In western North Carolina, GOP voters picked 24-year-old investor Madison Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair following an accident, over Trump-backed real estate agent Lynda Bennett.
The runoff was for the seat vacated by GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, who resigned to become Trump’s chief of staff and joined his new boss in backing Bennett.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., a libertarian-minded maverick who often clashes with GOP leaders, was renominated for a sixth House term. Trump savaged Massie in March as a “disaster for America” who should be ejected from the party after he forced lawmakers to return to Washington during a pandemic to vote on a huge economic relief package.
It should be apparent by now that the pandemic and race riots of the past few months have made the 2020 election a crapshoot. But the trend on the left is ever farther to the fringes — a place that the American voter has always feared to tread.
What it means for November is anyone’s guess.