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Jamaal Bowman Claims Victory Over Eliot Engel, Is the New Star of New York Politics



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Jamaal Bowman did what most thought was impossible for a middle school principal with no political campaign experience to do: He is set to oust Eliot Engel from Congress after 30 years in office.
With an abnormally large number of absentee ballots still being counted, Bowman sits above 60 percent while Engel’s vote tally hovers at just 35 percent, and as Bowman said in a presumptive victory speech Tuesday night in Yonkers, he is set “to get to Congress and cause problems for the people in there that have been maintaining a status quo that has literally been killing our children.”
It’s that focus on children and his own accessible boldness that have characterized the 44-year-old Bowman’s come-from-nowhere campaign that began last year with the intent to push Engel to the left on a number of issues including healthcare, public housing, foreign policy, and Bowman’s wheelhouse—education. New York politicos were skeptical of his chances to push out the man who has all but owned that Bronx seat on Capitol Hill.
Perhaps though, it was Engel’s fateful ‘hot mic’ moment, during which the incumbent said if there was no primary challenger “he wouldn’t care” about the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, that might have helped Bowman immensely. It helped him get his own message, his own understanding of their identity and struggle, to voters more than any ad buy or event could. It was all the more reason for Bowman to push through to represent an increasingly diverse district with a 32 percent Black population.
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