Politics Reps. Engel and Maloney wait for N.Y. primary absentee ballots to be counted
Bowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary
Progressive insurgent Jamaal Bowman was leading Rep. Eliot Engel by double digits in one of the most heavily anticipated primaries of the year.Bowman, a former middle school principal who's seen a late surge in the polls and fundraising, garnered 61 percent of the vote early Wednesday morning with 85 percent of precincts reporting. Engel, a 16-term incumbent, trailed in second with 36 percent of the vote.
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Democrats Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney have cruised to reelection through most of their decades in Congress. Now, both must wait for mail-in ballots to be counted — a process that begins Wednesday — to learn whether they will serve an additional term.
Voting in New York's primary election concluded June 23, but an unknown number of ballots have continued to trickle in by mail over the past week.
With potentially as much as 50% of the vote being cast by mail this year because of the coronavirus, absentee ballots could decide the primary election. Under state law, counting may begin Wednesday, but it could take several days to complete in some counties.
Gary Meltz: Primary election results – lessons and warnings for Dems in likely Engel defeat
Having had the honor of working for Engel for five years, here is what I believe this election means for the Democratic Party and the nation. First, this was a bigger night for Republicans and President Trump than it was for Democrats. Why? Because the president and his team know that the easiest path they have to electoral victory this November is to divide and conquer Democrats by splitting us apart along ideological lines between moderates and progressives. Understand, Trump is running his campaign to turn out his base. He is not making an aggressive play for centrist voters with moderate rhetoric.
The most closely watched contest in New York is the one involving Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Engel, who has been in Congress since 1989, was running well behind former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman in votes cast in person.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race, but Bowman, a progressive endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders, declared victory the day after the primary in a district that includes parts of the Bronx and suburban Westchester County.
"From the very beginning, we anchored our campaign in the fight for racial and economic justice," Bowman said in a prepared statement. "We spoke the truth — about the police, about systemic racism, about inequality — and it resonated in every part of the district."
Assemblyman Michael Blake refuses to concede Bronx congressional primary, alleges ‘black voter suppression’
Blake, who scored second place in the Tuesday primary’s in-person ballot count, made the serious allegation in a lengthy statement released by his campaign in which he listed off irregularities that he said occurred on Election Day.Blake, who scored second place in the Tuesday primary’s in-person ballot count, made the serious allegation in a lengthy statement released by his campaign in which he listed irregularities he said occurred as voters went to the polls.
Engel cautioned at the time that any such declaration "is premature and undermines the democratic process."
Maloney, who is in her 14th term in Congress, was running just a few hundred votes ahead of her closest challenger, Suraj Patel.
Maloney said she expects her lead to grow when all the ballots are counted in the district that includes Manhattan's wealthy Upper East Side, as well as waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that have been a hotbed of progressive activism.
Patel, a 36-year-old lawyer, activist and lecturer on business ethics at New York University, also expressed confidence, saying many requests for absentee ballots came from younger voters whose support he expects to win.
"We're in this race to ensure that the electorate is expanded, that every voice is heard, that every ballot is counted," he said in a telephone interview.
"This is a change election," he said. "Voters in droves rejected a failed status quo, and Carolyn Maloney with it."
New York poised to send first openly gay black members to Congress
Two leading candidates may be on the cusp of making history as the first openly gay black members of Congress. © AP / Susan Walsh ap-080929025809.jpg Lawyer and activist Mondaire Jones declared victory in the primary race to replace retiring Congresswoman Nita Lowey in New York's 17th District just north of New York City. In the Bronx, New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres is currently leading in the primary race to replace retiring Congressman José Serrano.
The race between Maloney and Patel is a rematch of the 2018 Democratic primary, a bruising contest that Maloney won while, one congressional district over, Ocasio-Cortez was ousting U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley.
Patel, who had to take a break from the campaign trail after he was infected with the coronavirus, has sought to capitalize on some of the same forces that propelled Ocasio-Cortez to victory. The son of immigrants from India, he is young, progressive and campaigning on the idea that Maloney hasn't pushed hard enough for change in Washington.
He ran, however, without the backing of some of the most influential groups on the left, including Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America.
Maloney attacked Patel in a digital ad that called him "creepy" over a 2012 Facebook post in which he joked about being attracted to Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, then just 16.
Patel said the comment about Maroney was "a flippant remark on social media to my girlfriend. It wasn't made ever in real life to an underage girl. I would never have had that interaction."
He filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee over Maloney’s campaign ad, saying the word creepy “is a racist trope used to describe black and brown men by people in power.”
Patel also attacked Maloney over questions she raised years ago about whether vaccines are linked to autism, prompting Maloney to run TV ads declaring that vaccines are safe.
Maloney, 74, called the election an opportunity to highlight her record and “talk about the opportunities ahead to advance police and criminal justice reform, to expand assistance to the millions impacted by COVID-19, and to hold President Trump accountable in what we are working to ensure are the final months of his disastrous presidency.”
Huge vote-by-mail expansion because of virus leaves clerks in Mass. girding for onslaught .
“We don’t want one single voter to feel disenfranchised because of COVID-19,” said state Senator Barry R. Finegold, an Andover Democrat and the chamber’s lead negotiator on the voting legislation.But its quickening path to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk is giving way to another daunting reality: reinventing an elections system rooted in a piecemeal, localized process that officials fear could be inundated by the fresh demand for absentee voting.