Progressive Bowman ousts Engel in New York primary

Progressive Democrat Jamaal Bowman defeated longtime Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelTrump relents as GSA informs Biden transition to begin Dozens of progressive groups endorse Joaquin Castro for Foreign Affairs chair Castro pledges to term limit himself if elected Foreign Affairs chair MORE in New York's Democratic primary, pulling off a major anti-establishment win.

The win was widely anticipated after Bowman had built a double-digit lead on June 23, when the primary took place, though the counting of mailed-in ballots delayed the final results for more than three weeks.

Bowman's victory confirmation on Friday provides progressives a major boost after a mixed year of results, showcasing the strides made by the left in reshaping the Democratic Party. The district, New York’s 16th, is heavily Democratic and Bowman is almost certain to coast to victory in November.


It also marks another instance in which a senior lawmaker in the state is ousted in a primary after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezKamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far MORE (D-N.Y.) stunned the political establishment by defeating former Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in 2018. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse Democrats subpoena private prison operator in forced hysterectomy case Overnight Health Care: Biden team to begin getting COVID briefings | Fauci says he would 'absolutely' serve on Biden's COVID task force | Major glove factories close after thousands test positive for COVID-19 House Oversight panel asks Purdue Pharma's Sackler family to testify over opioid crisis MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was in a tight race in a primary pitting her against Suraj Patel.

Bowman had gained big momentum in polling and fundraising toward the end of the campaign amid criticism of Engel's absence from the district and the protests against racial injustice roiling the country.

A poll conducted by the progressive firm Data for Progress showed Bowman up 10 points over Engel. Bowman's campaign also announced the candidate raised $2 million ahead of the primary from more than 65,000 individual donors.

Additionally, he received the support of major progressive figures, including Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Prepare for buyers' remorse when Biden/Harris nationalize health care Biden: 'Difficult decision' to staff administration with House, Senate members MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenKamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach No, the government cannot seize, break or 'bypass' pharmaceutical patents — even for COVID-19 MORE (D-Mass.).


Engel faced criticism from Bowman and other Democrats who said he was not often present in the district during much of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has faced backlash for his foreign policy platforms. Engel voted for the Iraq War and opposed the Iran nuclear deal during the Obama administration.

The longtime congressman also took heat after he was captured on camera at an event against racial injustice pressing to speak while saying he wouldn't have cared had he not faced a primary challenge.

First elected to Congress in 1988, Engel has been a fixture in New York politics since the 1970s. In the final weeks before the primary, as Bowman gained momentum in the race, prominent Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFederal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world Intercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years MORE, rushed to Engel’s aid.  

But Bowman’s anti-establishment message and connection with the Black Lives Matter movement ultimately proved to be a winning strategy

Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of the progressive group Justice Democrats, which endorsed Bowman, touted him as one of the first candidates “swept into Congress by the movement in the streets right now.”


“This win proves that a Black man who survived poverty and police violence at 11 years old has the power to transform his community and country,” Rojas said. 

Engel is the fifth incumbent congressman to fall in a primary this year, following in the footsteps of fellow Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.) and three GOP members, Reps. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingFeenstra wins Iowa House race to fill Steve King's seat Democrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones MORE (Iowa), Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanCheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud Trump's cyber firing stirs outrage Democrat concedes in competitive Virginia race MORE (Va.) and Scott TiptonScott R. TiptonNewly elected Colorado Republican wants to carry her gun in the Capitol: report QAnon backer Boebert wins Colorado House race Energized by polls, House Democrats push deeper into GOP territory MORE (Colo.). 

-- Updated at 12:12 p.m.