Latimer, Bowman campaign with voters day before contentious primary for NY-16 House seat

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Monday, June 24, 2024
Latimer, Bowman campaign day before contentious primary for NY-16 seat
Joe Torres previews the primary for NY-16 House seat on Tuesday.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Westchester County Executive George Latimer both are out with voters on Monday -- one day before Election Day in the highly contentious Democratic primary for the NY-16 House seat.

Bowman is trying to fend off a challenge from Latimer and both will be in Mount Vernon -- which is ground zero for the battle for voters.

Latimer grew up in Mount Vernon. By his side on Monday morning was a handful of clergy who endorsed the 70-year-old.

"Mount Vernon is important because there are that many people that have not voted early, and so therefore there is a large portion of people who have yet to vote," Latimer said.

Bowman was also focused on Mount Vernon. A busy schedule forced him to cancel a visit to a food pantry giveaway outside Grace Baptist Church. But later in the afternoon he rallied with fellow left-wing "squad" members congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

"We have been knocking on doors and making calls and sending text messages relentlessly," Bowman said.

The 16th congressional district spans part of southern Westchester County and the Bronx. Polls show Latimer, a moderate Democrat, with a double-digit lead heading into the primary.

The ugly primary in the 16th District has exposed the party's deep divide over U.S. policy on Israel, with current and former members of the New York congressional delegation sniping at each other and both candidates here seeking to paint the other as out of touch with and unfit for the district.

Bowman, allied with the progressive group of representatives known as the "squad," represents the left's opposition to Israel's conduct during the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and to the Biden administration's support for Israel. Latimer is running on a more centrist, establishment position: His platform affirms Israel's "rights of existence, stability, self-defense, and peace."

"The party may be divided over a couple of different issues, but the nation is even more divided, and we have a responsibility to not only unify the party, but to unify the nation," Latimer said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said on CNN Sunday that while she is not taking sides in the race, she clearly disagrees with Bowman's view on the Israel-Hamas war.

"This race has gotten national attention because it is the ultimate many versus the money race. And we are the many," Bowman said.

The race has already seen eyebrow-raising spending in New York City's expensive media market. The two candidates have spent $3.2 million apiece in the race, according to campaign finance filings. Outside spending has injected an additional $14.4 million into the district, with the United Democracy Project -- the super PAC associated with the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- leading these groups with $11.5 million in support of Latimer.

Early voting in the election ended Sunday. Bowman voted on the first day of early voting and Latimer voted Saturday afternoon.

The winner of the Democratic primary of the 16th congressional district is favored to win the seat in November.

Polls will be open Tuesday in New York City from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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