Squad member Jamaal Bowman loses win in the most expensive House primary in history

Squad member Jamaal Bowman loses win in the most expensive House primary in history

Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman lost to a primary challenger tonight who received an unprecedented onslaught of money from pro-Israel groups in the most expensive House primary in history.

Bowman — a member of “The Squad,” a coterie of progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives — became unpopular among pro-Israel Democrats because of his support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amid a war that has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s super PAC, United Democracy Project, poured $14 million into Bowman’s race as he faced Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

Early returns showed that Latimer dominated Bowman in Westchester County, winning more than 60 percent of the vote in the heavily white and affluent county. Conversely, Bowman only won 82 per cent of the vote in his base of support in the Bronx, which has a large Black and Latino population.

But most of the advertisements did not focus on Bowman’s policies on Israel, but rather his decision to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill, his opposition to a deal to lift the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts or his own personal antics in Congress. The ads portrayed Bowman as antagonistic toward President Biden, something Bowman strongly denies.

The race became intensely personal, with Latimer accusing Bowman of “representing” Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a large Arab-American population, and San Francisco.

Bowman and other members of the Squad, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, accused the Latimer campaign of engaging in race-baiting.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., talks at a campaign stop in White Plains, N.Y., on June 11, 2024 (AP)

Bowman’s last primary was an equally surprising victory in 2020 against House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel. Since then, he has rankled many in Congress, particularly when, during a vote in September, he pulled a fire alarm. That stunt led him to be charged with a misdemeanor and censured by House Republicans.

Bowman attempted a last-minute showing of strength, bringing progressive leaders including Senator Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts to campaign for him.

“We are going to show f**king AIPAC the power of the motherf**king South Bronx,” he said at a rally on Saturday — despite the fact his district did not include the South Bronx.

The race also became a continuation of Sanders’s 2016 primary feud with Hillary Clinton, given that Clinton endorsed Latimer’s campaign and her political action committee contributed money to him.

Progressives accused AIPAC of allowing for Republican money to flow into a Democratic primary.

The race is the first primary that a member of the Squad lost. In April, Representative Summer Lee of Pennsylvania beat back primary challenger Bhavini Patel. But Patel did not receive money from outside groups like AIPAC or Democratic Majority for Israel.

“I think that this race is about the corrupting role of money in politics, and I think there’s a certain extent where it’s honestly not about issues at all,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Independent before the race.

Bowman’s victory offers a template for fellow embattled Squad member Representative Cori Bush of Missouri, who also faces an AIPAC-supported candidate in Wesley Bell.

Source: independent.co.uk