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24 Jun, 2020 10:52

Clinton-backed, 16-term Democrat LOSING to black progressive educator in NY primary

Clinton-backed, 16-term Democrat LOSING to black progressive educator in NY primary

Progressive educator Jamaal Bowman is trouncing his 31-year incumbent establishment opponent, Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, in a New York district primary, despite Engel’s support from Hillary Clinton and pro-Israel groups.

Engel, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is losing by 26 points. He was endorsed by Hillary Clinton and even had Republican money funneled into his campaign via the Democratic Majority for Israel super PAC, which spent over $600,000 attacking Bowman and supporting Engel, the Intercept reported

Bowman is a former Bronx school principal who supports Medicare for all and the Green New Deal, has called for an end to racial profiling and the defunding of police. He has received endorsements from high-profile Democratic socialists like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – as well as from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. His website calls on New Yorkers to elect a Democrat who will “fight for schools and education, not bombs and incarceration.”

Bowman’s likely upset against Engels has echoes of AOC's surprise win against incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018. In his speech on Tuesday night, the political newcomer said if he gets to Congress he will hold accountable politicians who are “beholden to corporate interests.” He has also said he does not “take a dime from weapons manufacturers," unlike the hawkish Engel.

Engel voted for the Iraq war, saying it would be a “monumental mistake” not to, and he opposed the Iran nuclear deal. He fought to stop legislation to ban the selling of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia and controversially said he didn’t want to see that country’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman punished for the slaughter of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

A staunch supporter of Israel, Engel also celebrated President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s relocated capital, and slammed Barack Obama’s mere abstention from a 2016 UN vote on Israeli settlements. His largest campaign contributors are the pro-Israel PAC’s Pro-Israel America and NORPAC. 

Also on rt.com Meddling, anyone? Pro-Israel groups spent $22 million on lobbying & campaign contributions in 2018

Fellow hawk Clinton even included a nod to Engel's interventionist credentials in her endorsement, saying he was "deeply committed to working with our allies to maintain American leadership" around the world.

Engel’s campaign received a blow at a news conference about Black Lives Matter protests earlier this month when he was caught on mic saying, “If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care” about speaking on the local unrest. Bowman, who is black, has also called for the repeal of the 1994 Crime Bill, which Engel supported. 

The Bowman campaign said it is surprised to see him leading even in precincts where Engel was expected to have strong support. The primary won’t be called for more than a week, however, as absentee ballots cannot be counted until eight days after election day. 

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