Rep. Jamaal Bowman, member of ‘The Squad,’ wins New York Democratic primary

Bowman fended off his Democratic challengers to win the contest in New York’s 16th Congressional District.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has fended off his Democratic challengers to win the primary contest in New York’s 16th Congressional District. He is expected to easily win reelection in November’s general election in the Democratic stronghold. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks during a news conference announcing a resolution to condemn replacement theory outside the U.S. Capitol June 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The New York Times declared Bowman the winner with more than 50% of the vote. 

“Tonight, we proved to the world that if you lead with peace and with love, you win,” Bowman said in a campaign statement released Tuesday night. “Because when we got to D.C. two years ago — just days before the first attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812 — that is how we led.”

He added, “We introduced the Green New Deal for Public Schools to invest in young people. We brought back resources to support the elderly and children in our communities. We fought back against hate, racism, and anti-semitism.”

The race for New York’s 16th, which includes parts of Bronx and Westchester County, had been shaped by redistricting that caused a significant number of Black residents to be drawn out of the district.

Bowman, a member of the progressive collective of lawmakers known as “The Squad”–which includes AOC and Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib–was challenged by moderate opponents who took aim at his more liberal stances like defunding the police and his voting against the bipartisan infrastructure law that he and members of the Squad boycotted in an effort to save another major Democratic bill known as Build Back Better. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) answers a question during a press conference at Jacobi Hospital in the Morris Park neighborhood on June 03, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

In an interview with theGrio days before the primary election, Bowman said, “Yes, I am a progressive. Yes, I am a member of ‘the Squad,’ if you will,” but also emphasized his endorsements by Democratic Party leadership in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“It’s not as much about whether you call yourself progressive or moderate or conservative. It’s more about how you show up and how you get the job done,” said the 46-year-old lawmaker.

Bowman said he believed voters were motivated by good leadership, not any particular faction or ideology within a party. “I know in my district, we continue to get a very high level of support because people believe and feel—and I agree with them—that we’ve been able to meet their needs over these last couple of years.”

He added, “It’s about servant leadership and compassionate leadership, and it’s about showing up for your district and speaking truth to power on the issues that matter most to them.”

Rep. Bowman touted his and his staff’s work on both the national and local level, from closing more than 3,000 cases of interventions with federal agencies like the IRS for his constituents, writing proposals for community project funding and helping constituents refinance their mortgages, including access to millions of dollars for home repairs. In total, he said he’s helped his constituents save roughly $3 million. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks during a news conference announcing a resolution to condemn replacement theory outside the U.S. Capitol June 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Bowman also pointed out that he’s introduced around 45 pieces of legislation, and his office’s writing of a resolution condemning the racist ideology known as “the great replacement theory,” passed in the House. The congressman said he was also proud to have Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the Senate lead on his “Care for All” resolution that “centers care as part of the rebirth of the American economy.”

Bowman joins fellow “Squad” members Reps. Tlaib, Omar and Bush, all of whom won their elections this primary season. Ocasio-Cortez, also of New York, was not challenged in her neighboring 14th Congressional District. Rep. Pressley is also running unchallenged in Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District. 

In his campaign statement, Congressman Bowman said his primary win was more than a victory for him, describing it as a “movement.” 

“Tomorrow, we’ll get back to work fighting for the people of this district, and back to work building a district, a country, and a world that centers equity, human rights, and justice for all,” he said.

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