Westchester News

Latimer KOs Israel-hating, 10/7 denying Bowman in Bronx-Westchester primary


Rep. Jamaal Bowman, an Israel-hater notorious for attacks on Jews and the dissemination of conspiracy theories, lost by nearly 17-percentage points to Westchester County Executive George Latimer in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election.

With 88% of precincts reporting, the unofficial tally on Wednesday afternoon was Latimer 44,371 (58.4%) to Bowman 31,555 (41.6%). Latimer carried Westchester, which makes up most of the district, 43,064 (63.4%) to Bowman 24,873 (36.6%), while Bowman carried the Bronx 6,682 (83.6%) to Latimer 1,307 (16.4%).

The election was the most expensive congressional primary in US history, involving the outlay of an estimated $25-million. AIPAC’s super PAC, United Democracy Project, spent more than $14 million on ads in the race (one of its commercials was pro-Latimer and three were anti-Bowman). None of the ads mentioned Israel, instead focusing on Bowman’s legislative record.

Bowman, a two-term congressman who is a member of the left-wing “Squad” led by Queens-Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is the first member of the Squad to be defeated since it was formed after the 2018 elections, and the first incumbent member of Congress defeated this year. AOC won re-nomination on Monday after facing no significant opposition.

Latimer, 70, told supporters at his post-election rally in White Plains that after 6-1/2 years as Westchester County Executive and 35 years in public office, “you didn’t need a campaign ad to tell you who George Latimer is — you’ve seen who I am because of what I do.”

“Let me try to do what I can do to bring some positive results,” he said. “I have never viewed an election as a blank check from you. It is a promissory note from me to you.”

Despite his crushing defeat, Bowman told his post-election gathering in Yonkers that he’s “not done with politics, there are many seats to run for.”

And he thanked his allies in this race, singling out “the Muslim community” throughout America.

“I want us to acknowledge publicly the power of the Muslim community,” he said, chastising the crowd when its cheers of appreciation for Muslim support were not loud enough. “You don’t understand what the Muslim community specifically did in this race — the Muslim community from Yonkers to San Francisco to Dearborn, Michigan to St. Louis to Chicago to Long Island to New Jersey — [which] surrounded me this entire race with protection, with love, with gratitude, and they helped us raise more money than we ever raised before.”

He told his supporters they should be “outraged” that a super PAC spent millions to “brainwash people” and he vowed to “continue to fight the evils of capitalism, militarism and racism.”

“We will continue to fight for a free Palestine, and God help us that we live in a better world where when we say ‘Free Palestine’ it is not antisemitic,” he said.

“This movement has always been about justice, it has always been about humanity, it has always been about equality, and it has always been about our collective liberation.”

While Israel, antisemitism and the Israel-Gaza war did not figure in AIPAC’s campaign advertising in the 16th CD (most of which is in Westchester, and includes a small part of the Bronx) Jewish voters to whom those are critical concerns understood what was at stake.

Westchester Unites organizer Dan Mitzner told JTA that rhetoric surrounding the war had motivated Jewish voters.

“People feel like anbtisemitism is on the ballot and they feel like, for the first time, we are a community at risk.”

Someone affiliated with Westchester Unites posted on Wednesday that “Jewish turnout in CD16 was off the charts.”

“Like other races this cycle, George Latimer’s victory and Jamaal Bowman’s defeat demonstrate in dramatic fashion our long-time contention that being pro-Israel is not just wise policy, but also winning politics,” said Mark Mellman, chairman of DMFI PAC.

“This triumph by a strong pro-Israel candidate represents a major victory for the Democratic mainstream that stands with the Jewish state and a defeat for the extremist fringe,” AIPAC stated.

After Oct. 7, Bowman called reports of Hamas rapes and other atrocities “lies” and Israeli “propaganda.” He was one of only nine Democrats to vote, a few weeks after Oct. 7, against a resolution pledging support for Israel and condemning Hamas.

Bowman became so noxious that even left-wing J-Street withdrew its endorsement.

Bowman’s repeatedly accused Israel of “apartheid” and “genocide,” last week telling WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that Israel was committing “genocide” in Gaza.

At a rally on Saturday with AOC and Sen. Bernie Sanders, he vowed to “show f—ing AIPAC the power of the motherf—ing South Bronx. … We’re going to show them who the f— we are!” The South Bronx is represented not by Bowman but by Zionist Democrat Ritchie Torres, a gay Latino progressive.

“The level of profanity here is so shocking as to be unbecoming of a member of Congress,” Torres wrote on X. “There is nothing in Jamaal Bowman’s unhinged tirade that remotely resembles the decency of the people I know and represent in the South Bronx.”

“My opponent supports genocide” and are “destroying our democracy,” Bowman told the rally.

AOC told the crowd Bowman was targeted because he “dared to speak up for Palestinians.”

“We rallied 1,200 people in the Bronx to take on dark money, get fired up, and send busloads of volunteers to canvass and phone band,” said later. “It’s called organizing. And it’s fun as hell.”

Politico quoted Bowman over the weekend as saying that Jews had “segregated” themselves from the rest of Westchester.

“There’s certain places where the Jews live and concentrate,” he said. “I’m sure they made a decision to do that for their own reasons,” but, as a result, “we’ve been separated and segregated and miseducated.”

Torres responded on X that “there’s a word for this scapegoating: antisemitism.”

In addition to stoking antisemitism during the campaign, Bowman supporters pushed a broader racist agenda.

“They want to call me the n-word,” said Bowman.

“I’m an outspoken Black man,” he said in their final TV debate. “His supporters don’t want that, because it challenges their power.”

At a Juneteenth event, a Bowman volunteer trailing Latimer asked whether he was getting his “racist talking points” from MAGA donors” or had come up with them himself, the Washington Post reported.

“I grew up in Mount Vernon,” a Black majority city, Latimer, who is White, responded. “In 25 years, the racism would have showed by now.”

Striking a positive note on his victory night, Latimer said “we have to find a way to come together.”

“This country can’t afford to splinter into little pieces. And every representative has to understand the necessity for unity so that we can move forward as a nation,” he said.

“We have to look at the arguments of the far right and the far left and say, you cannot destroy this country with your rhetoric.”

More than 24% of the district’s roughly 250,000 Democratic voters took part in the race, a figure that will rise after remaining ballots are counted, the Journal-News and LoHud reported.

In the district, where Democrats outnumber Republican 3-to-1, Latimer will face Republican Miriam Flisser in November. When Flisser, a doctor, ran for the seat in 2022, Bowman beat her by almost 30 points.

Reporting by multiple media sources assisted in assembling this report. This report has been updated periodically.