NEW YORK (AP) – Freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in her New York district on Tuesday while other members of Congress faced insurgent challengers in races that may not be decided for at least a week.
The coronavirus pandemic that moved campaigning from the streets to computer screens also prompted officials to urge New Yorkers to vote by mail, but those ballots won’t be counted until July 1 at the earliest.
Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist who upset powerful Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in the 2018 primary, beat primary opponents including former CNBC broadcaster Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. Her district includes parts of the Bronx and Queens.
Meanwhile, Democratic Congress members including U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel waited to see if they would withstand similar challenges.
Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, faced a challenge from Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The district includes parts of the Bronx and suburban Westchester County.
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke faced several primary opponents in her Brooklyn district including Adem Bunkeddeko, a Harvard Business School graduate who also ran against her in 2018. Bunkeddeko challenged Clarke over corporate donors and her record in Congress.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney also faced a repeat challenger in Suraj Patel, who ran against her in the 2018 primary and was one of three opponents on Tuesday’s ballot. Patel criticized Maloney for supporting a failed deal to use government tax breaks and other subsidies to help Amazon build a secondary headquarters in Queens. The district includes parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
The retirements of Democrats Jose Serrano in the Bronx and Nita Lowey in the suburbs north of New York City resulted in large primary fields in those two districts.
The top candidates for Serrano’s seat included City Council member Ruben Diaz Sr., a social conservative who opposes abortion rights and LGBT rights. One of his foes, City Council member Ritchie Torres, is a gay man who is backed by several LGBT organizations hoping to head off a win by Diaz.
Candidates for Lowey’s seat include Mondaire Jones, an attorney endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as former prosecutor and pharmaceutical heir Adam Schleifer and former Defense Department official Evelyn Farkas.
Several of the districts in New York City and its suburbs are so overwhelmingly Democratic that the winner of the party’s primary is almost certain to win election in November, while districts in some other parts of the state are more competitive.
The retirement of Republican Rep. Peter King leaves his Long Island seat open as well, and Democrats believe they have a good chance of winning the seat in November. State Assembly members Andrew Garbarino and Mike LiPetri were running in the Republican primary, while school guidance counselor Jackie Gordon faced activist Patricia Maher in the Democratic primary.
The western New York district left vacant by Republican Chris Collins’ guilty plea to insider trading hosted both a Republican primary and a special election to fill the seat through the end of the year. Democrat Nate McMurray battled Republican state Sen. Chris Jacobs in the special election, and Jacobs was one of three candidates in the Republican primary. The winner of that primary will face McMurray in the general election.
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