Young Latino, Black candidates take four important primaries in New York

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Primaries in four districts that are Democratic strongholds see a possible pending shift in the political voice

On the heels of Black Lives Matter protests, New York voters in several key areas cast a ballot for power back to the people. Since the historic win of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018, the rise of a new political bloc in NYC continues. Candidates have been participating in a number of rallies against police killings, to openly celebrating their sexuality—a huge shift from the traditional respectability politics of old. Tuesday’s voting primaries show upsets, secured seats and new voices of progress.

14th Congressional District: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez overwhelms her opponent, Michelle Caruso, in the Democratic primaries for New York’s 14th congressional district representing Queens and the Bronx. Taking more than 70 percent of the vote, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s strong visibility in today’s political landscape marks a major shift in the elected political voice in New York.

15th Congressional District: Ritchie Torres

March 12, 2018–The Bronx– Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visits the apartment of Jeffrey Blyther, a disabled New Yorker, in the Andrew Jackson Houses in The Bronx with Councilmember Torres. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

In the 15th Congressional district also covering a part of the Bronx, Ritchie Torres held onto a strong lead. At 25-years-old, Councilmember Torres became the youngest elected official in New York City, and the first openly LGBT elected official from the Bronx. Now at 32, Torres says, “It will be the honor of my life to represent this borough … the opportunity to represent the essential workers of this borough, to represent the powerful mothers of this borough, it’s the culmination of a dream.”

16th Congressional District: Jamaal Bowman

Photo courtesy of Jamaal Bowman’s Facebook page.

Another projected win for the 16th Congressional district is Jamaal Bowman. The former NYC middle-school principal booted longtime congressional official, Eliot Engel. Rep. Engel has served in US Congress since 1989 in 16 terms and is currently the Chair on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee and Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. 

“The results show that this district is demanding change,” posted Bowman on Twitter. “I cannot wait to get to Congress and cause problems for the people in there who have been maintaining a status quo that is literally killing our children.”

Bowman gained a spike in traction after Engel was outed for staying in Maryland as the Covid-19 pandemic crushed NYC and a $1.3 million boost from the Justice Democrats, a political PAC, and Working Families Party, a small political party. Although election day for voters were long lines in the heat, ballots overwhelmingly favored Bowman. At press time, Bowman had 60.76 percent of the votes. This major upset follows the trajectory of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who beat out 10-term incumbent and Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, in 2018.

17th Congressional District: Mondaire Jones

Photo courtesy of Mondaire Jones’s Facebook page.

In a crowded race to replace Rep. Nita Lowey (D) who announced her retirement, progressive candidate, Mondaire Jones, is in a healthy lead. At press time, he has 42.66 percent of the vote. Jones, a lawyer and non-profit activist who served on the Obama Administration in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, will be first black, openly gay Congressional official in America.

While mail-in ballots have yet to be counted, all are projected winners.

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