‘Squad’ lawmaker in danger of losing primary as Dem-led attacks pile up

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A progressive “Squad” Democrat could see his career in the House of Representatives end after New York’s congressional primaries next Tuesday.

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On one side of the contentious primary race in New York’s 16th Congressional District is Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., a former middle school principal who is backed by the progressive left, including self-described Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

On the other side is Westchester County Executive George Latimer, a more moderate candidate who has scored backing from Hillary Clinton, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and former Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., who is vying to get back into Congress himself.

The fight is part of a wider fracture within the Democratic Party caused by Israel’s war in Gaza. 

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Jamaal Bowman

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., is a member of the far-left “Squad.” (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call)

Bowman is part of a growing coalition on the left that’s critical of the Israeli government and its treatment of Palestinians, a movement that’s been met with bipartisan pushback.

It sparked a new battle for Bowman on Saturday after he criticized fellow House Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., on the “Night School” podcast for his vocal support of Israel.

“I think that he’s trying to gain political power for himself towards an ultimate objective,” Bowman said.

Torres told Fox News Digital on Monday in response, “I have a general rule of not weighing in against a congressional Democrat who has not weighed in against me. But Bowman’s gratuitous attack on my character might cause me to rethink that rule. Stay tuned.”

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AIPAC’s political arm also donated more than $1.5 million to Latimer during this campaign cycle, according to financial disclosures.

In response, Bowman and his allies have criticized AIPAC as a right-wing organization despite its bipartisan reputation. 

George Latimer

Westchester County Executive George Latimer (Jeenah Moon for the Washington Post via Getty Images/File)

Ocasio-Cortez called the group a “slush fund for Republican billionaires” on X this month and previously compared it to the National Rifle Association.

She’s also accused outside groups of spending more than $15 million to unseat Bowman, writing on X, “This is corruption. It is a core threat to American democracy. It also fuels Trump.”

She and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are holding a rally for Bowman on Saturday before primary day.

Bowman’s comments on the Israel-Hamas conflict are also what inspired Jones, a former ally of Bowman’s in the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), to publicly shun him in favor of his opponent.

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“Over the past few months, I have had countless conversations with Jewish residents in my district and across the Lower Hudson Valley who feel anxiety, anger, and fear due to Rep. Bowman’s words and actions. I will always stand up for my Jewish constituents,” Jones said in a statement when the CPC challenged him over his Latimer endorsement.

Bowman could lose his seat in similar circumstances under which he won it, by defeating longtime moderate Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., in the 2020 primary.

A survey by Emerson College Polling/PIX11/The Hill released last week had Latimer leading Bowman 48% to 31%.

Democrat New York Rep. Ritchie Torres

Rep. Ritchie Torres is a Democrat from New York. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images/File)

But Democrat strategist Max Burns of Third Degree Strategies argued that Bowman was still popular with voters.

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“I think there’s always going to be a concern that we need to move back to the center. There’s always going to be this fear that we’re alienating voters, but the data just shows that that’s not true,” Burns told Fox News Digital. “I mean, Jamaal Bowman has been incredibly popular in his district. … I do think that at the end of the day, voters are going to look at the candidate that they know, but then the candidate who more likely than not has knocked on their door this cycle.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Bowman, Latimer and Ocasio-Cortez’s campaigns for comment.

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