AOC-backed progressive topples 16-term House Democrat Eliot Engel in stunning New York primary victory - but result took more than THREE weeks to decide as mail-in ballots were counted

Former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman has toppled 16-term U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel in New York's Democratic primary in another upset victory for the party's insurgent wing – in a race where it has taken weeks to tabulate results due to a crush of absentee ballots. 
Many votes cast by mail in the race have still yet to be counted, but an AP analysis of absentee ballots returned so far indicated Friday that Bowman´s lead from votes cast in person is too large for Engel to overcome.
Bowman declared victory in the race on June 24, a day after the primary, and said his lead was expanding as absentee ballots came in.
Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal, has toppled longtime Rep. Eliot Engel of New York. Bowman, 44, mounted a progressive challenge against the 16-term Democrat
Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal, has toppled longtime Rep. Eliot Engel of New York. Bowman, 44, mounted a progressive challenge against the 16-term Democrat
Engel's camp sued last week seeking the right to oversee the count of the absentee ballots – after more than 400,000 of them were distributed in New York City.
The district also includes part of Westchester County, an early hot spot of the coronavirus outbreak.  He led the incumbent by a stunning 58 to 35 margin among in-person voters. 
A political novice who has never held public office before, Bowman, 44, was a progressive African American challenger who said Engel, the 73-year-old chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had lost touch with his economically and racially diverse district. 
He pulled off his extraordinary win in a campaign season upended first by the coronavirus outbreak, then by protests over the death of George Floyd.
Engel has a longtime liberal voting record, although he is also a strong supporter of Israel and opposed the Obama Administration's Iran deal. 
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., chairs the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., chairs the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who herself toppled a longtime incumbent, backed Bowman in the race against her New York colleague
Both candidates were unable to do traditional campaigning because of social distancing restrictions, but Bowman criticized Engel for staying at his home in Maryland as the pandemic turned his district in the Bronx and suburban Westchester County into one of the virus's most deadly hunting grounds.
Engel said he was working on behalf of the district from Washington.
Then, after protests over Floyd's death in Minnesota gave way to two nights of looting, Engel had a bad gaffe while appearing at a Bronx event where he joined other local politicians appealing for peace.
'If I didn´t have a primary, I wouldn´t care,' he said while pleading with the lead organizer for a chance to speak, in a comment picked up by a live microphone.
Engel, who is white, said he has 'always believed that Black lives matter' and said his comments were taken out of context, but Bowman, who has spoken of his own experiences with police brutality, said they illustrated why the district needed new leadership.
Votes are still coming in as longtime Rep. Carolyn Maloney seeks to her seat – and committee chairmanship
Votes are still coming in as longtime Rep. Carolyn Maloney seeks to her seat – and committee chairmanship
This undated photo shows Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney in New York's 12th Congressional District race
This undated photo shows Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney in New York's 12th Congressional District race
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer backed Engel for reelection
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer backed Engel for reelection
By defeating Engel, Bowman replicated the success of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated another powerful New York City Democrat, Joe Crowley, in a neighboring congressional district two years ago.
The campaign was the latest proxy battle between the party´s progressive and pragmatic wings. Bowman was endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren while Engel picked up support from Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Bowman grew up in public housing in New York City. He was a teacher and school counselor for several years before becoming the founding principal of a Bronx middle school, the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action.
Candidates Chris Fink, Sammy Ravelo and Andom Ghebreghiorgis also appeared on the ballot, although Ghebreghiorgis withdrew from the race and endorsed Bowman.
The district is heavily Democratic, so the primary winner is virtually assured of victory in the general election in November.
Ballots are still being counted in the race by longtime Rep. Carolyn Maloney to hang onto her district, which includes parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Suraj Patel is running a second challenge against her, amid complaints that as many as 19 per cent of ballots are being tossed by election officials for lacking a proper postmark.
The problems in the count come as a group of states boost mail voting amid the coronavirus, while President Trump levels unproven allegations of widespread fraud in mail votes. 
Only  800 of some 65,000 mail ballots had been counted as of Wednesday according to Patel, the New York Times reported. 
According to the paper, a total of 403 ballots were mailed for the June primary – well beyond the 76,000 in the heated 2008 presidential primary. The elections board relied on the usual number of staff despite the surge in absentee ballots.
AOC-backed progressive topples 16-term House Democrat Eliot Engel in stunning New York primary victory - but result took more than THREE weeks to decide as mail-in ballots were counted AOC-backed progressive topples 16-term House Democrat Eliot Engel in stunning New York primary victory - but result took more than THREE weeks to decide as mail-in ballots were counted Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:25 Rating: 5

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