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‘Squad’ member Bowman ousted in New York’s Democratic primary

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In a stunning upset, progressive Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., lost his seat in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, becoming the first member of the “squad” of liberal lawmakers to be ousted by a member of their own party.

Bowman, who was seeking a third term representing New York’s 16th Congressional District, was trailing Westchester County Executive George Latimer by 54.8-45.2% with 50.9% of the votes counted when the Associated Press called the race at 9:40 p.m.

“You do not need a campaign ad to tell you who George Latimer is; you have seen who I am,” Latimer said in his victory speech to supporters, who gathered in White Plains to watch Tuesday’s results. “I have never seen an election as a blank check. It is a promissory note from me to you.”

Bowman’s loss is expected to reverberate far beyond the New York congressional district. One of Congress’s most outspoken critics of Israel, he is the first member of the so-called “squad” of progressive lawmakers to be ousted in a Democratic primary.

The race was a reflection of broader Democratic party divisions, especially around Israel’s war in Gaza. Bowman was one of the first Democrats to call for a ceasefire in the conflict while also condemning Hamas for their Oct. 7 attack in Israel. Latimer portrayed himself as a staunch supporter of Israel and blasted Hamas as a terrorist organization on the campaign trail.

The race was also the most expensive House primary in U.S. history, with more than $25 million raised and spent by both sides, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

United Democracy Project, a pro-Israel super PAC, has poured nearly $15 million on ads into the race, attacking Bowman and supporting Latimer, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm.

Bowman, 48, a former school teacher, was first elected in 2020 after ousting moderate Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, a 16-term New York congressman.

He touted endorsements from fellow liberals Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders, while Latimer ran with support from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lives in Chappaqua, and a host of Westchester County officials.

Latimer, 70, jumped into the race at the urging of Jewish leaders upset with Bowman’s criticism. He is a former state lawmaker who has been a fixture in Westchester County politics for years. He has focused on his local roots and knowledge of the region’s political landscape, casting Bowman as out of touch with the district’s voters.

Under recent redistricting changes, New York’s 16th Congressional District has shed sections of Bowman’s key home turf in the Bronx and expanded more into Westchester County’s tony suburbs. Polls taken weeks ahead of the primary showed Latimer ahead of Bowman by a wide margin.

Latimer will face Republican Miriam Flisser, a former Scarsdale mayor, in the November elections in a congressional district that has been considered safe Democratic territory for years.

Tuesday’s New York primaries also saw competitive races in a slew of congressional districts, some of which are targets for Democrats as they look to take control of the House in November.

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