Disgraced Squad member annihilated in Democrat primary

George Latimer has defeated Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) in the Democratic primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District, according to projections by Decision Desk HQ. This outcome delivers a significant setback to progressives in what has been the most contentious primary of the cycle.

Latimer, the Westchester County executive, won in a heated contest that highlighted the ideological rift within the Democratic Party, primarily centered on their views toward Israel amid its ongoing conflict with Hamas.

The race attracted unprecedented financial contributions from within and outside the district, making it the most expensive House primary in history. Prominent party leaders took sides, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) backing the moderate Latimer, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) supported Bowman.

Bowman, who joined the “Squad” of progressive House Democrats after his 2020 victory, originally won his seat by challenging and unseating moderate incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel (D). His race against Latimer exposed deep divisions within the Democratic Party, especially following Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths. The subsequent Israeli counteroffensive has led to over 35,000 casualties in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry.

Latimer’s campaign focused heavily on Bowman’s statements and votes related to the conflict. He criticized Bowman for advocating a permanent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and opposing additional arms shipments to Israel. Latimer also condemned Bowman’s November comments, in which he labeled reports of Hamas committing rape and sexual violence on October 7 as “lies” and “propaganda.” Although Bowman later retracted and apologized for these comments, Latimer’s supporters used them in campaign mailers to attack Bowman.

The primary also reflected broader party divisions over the war, with some Democratic voters expressing dissatisfaction with President Biden’s handling of the conflict by selecting an “uncommitted” option in the presidential primaries.

The contest between Latimer and Bowman intensified during their few debates. Latimer accused Bowman of undermining Israel’s right to defend itself and ignoring certain constituents. Bowman countered by accusing Latimer of using a “racist dog whistle” by suggesting Bowman’s constituency was in Dearborn, Mich., a predominantly Arab American area.

The 16th District, which has a significant Jewish population as well as Arab American residents, saw polling before the primary indicating Bowman’s vulnerability. A poll earlier this month showed Latimer leading Bowman by 17 points.

With Bowman’s defeat, he becomes the first incumbent House Democrat to lose a primary challenge this election cycle. Given the solidly blue nature of the district, Latimer is expected to win the House seat in November.

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