One of Israel’s uncompromising foes in Congress, Rep. Jamaal Bowman of the Bronx and Westchester, may face a significant challenge in next year’s Democratic primary.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer, whose been cagey for months about whether he’d enter the race in the 16th Congressional District, took formal steps on Monday to challenge Bowman, filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
A political consultant slated to work on the campaign told the Washington Post that there would be formal announcement on Wednesday.
Unlike Biden and other Democratic lawmakers, Bowman is aligned with “the anti-Israel extremist fringe,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said. “Democrats in this district deserve a representative who stands by the mainstream view which supports the US-Israel relationship.”
Bowman is a member of “The Squad” of anti-Israel members of Congress, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of Queens and the Bronx, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Cori Bush of Missouri, Greg Casar of Texas, and Summer Lee of Pennsylvania.
Bowman has been muted in speaking about Hamas, but emphatic that Israel be held “accountable for their behavior — whether it’s the occupation, the open-air prison that is Gaza, or the war crimes that are taking place right now during this siege.”
The 70-year-old Latimer, serving his second term as county executive after 35 years in politics, would face Bowman, a 47-year-old former Bronx middle school principal who entered Congress three years ago after unseating longtime incumbent Eliot Engel in a primary.
A Bowman-Latimer primary is likely to be scorched-earth-style and ultra-expensive.
Bowman’s campaign said in response to Latimer’s filings that Bowman will continue to focus on delivering for his constituents and “standing up to powerful special interests in Congress,” the Journal News of Westchester reported.
“We will continue to fight and deliver what the people of New York’s 16th District are demanding, like affordable housing, child care, climate action, jobs, education, healthcare, and defeating antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism,” campaign spokeswoman Emma Simon said in a statement.
Westchester County Democratic Chairwoman Suzanne Berger declined to comment until Latimer has announced his campaign, the Journal News reported.
While a primary election is scheduled for June 25, it is uncertain whether the district lines will change before then. A decision on this is pending at the NYS Court of Appeals.
Bowman’s district originally included heavily-Jewish Riverdale, but after redistricting in 2022, Riverdale was drawn into the district represented by pro-Israel Rep. Ritchie Torres.