Congressional Primary Race Heats Up

Redistricting appears to be a mixed blessing in the largely blue 16th Congressional District.

Democratic congressional primary in district 16 pits George Latimer against incumbent Jamaal Bowman.
Published March 7, 2024 6:09 PM
3 min read

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Redistricting of the 16th Congressional District, which includes Rye, appears to be a mixed blessing for Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Westchester County Executive George Latimer, who are vying for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the largely blue district.

Other recent developments in the contest appear to favor Latimer: a jump in the number of registered Democrats; a stronger fundraising performance in the fourth quarter, and Bowman’s formal censure by the House of Representatives.

New York state finally enacted a new congressional district map, ending a three-year battle over redistricting lines. A big question for voters in Rye and elsewhere was whether the new map would help Bowman, a Black progres-sive member of Congress, or Latimer in the Democratic prima-ry on June 25. The new map now includes Co-Op City, a large, mostly Black housing develop-ment in the Bronx that Bowman previously represented. But it no longer includes the Wakefield section of the Bronx, which also has a largely African-American population.

Another important factor in the race is the strong backing that Latimer is receiving from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Its opposition to Bowman began with his votes against pro-Israel resolutions in the House and has grown because of statements he has made since Oct. 7 and the start of the war in Gaza. A campaign by an AIPAC affiliate group was launched earlier this year to persuade registered independents and Republicans to change their party affiliation to Democrat before the Feb. 14 cutoff. More than 2,300 vot-ers reportedly have re-registered as Democrats before the dead-line. 

Latimer raised nearly $1.4 million compared to Bowman’s roughly $725,000 in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to their latest fundraising numbers. Those early fundraising results indicate how much attention the race is drawing. AIPAC has taken credit for raising $600,000, nearly half of Latimer’s total for the period. Latimer also enjoys broad and deep support from many elected officials throughout the county, due to his positive performance during two terms as Westchester’s county executive. 

Redistrictin map for Congressional District 16.
State redistricting has altered the Congressional District 16 map.

Latimer has emphasized that the bulk of his donations came from within the district as opposed to Bowman, whose reputation as a progressive firebrand provides him a wider network of funding outside the state. The New York Sun reported recently that Bowman has formed a joint fundraising pact with fellow progressive Congress member Rashida Tlaib, whose re-election campaign is well funded. Bowman and Tlaib, along with three other members of the progressive “squad” in Congress, voted against Biden’s infrastructure legislation, despite its bipartisan support. 

Latimer gained important sup-port from the Black community when the Rev. Michael Gerald announced recently that he was ending his campaign for Congress in the 16th Congressional District. Gerald, who will actively campaign for Latimer, said: “The residents of this district still deserve a congressman who shares our Democratic values and represents them with his votes. Bowman is not that person, on major bills, he has consistently voted against President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.” 

In addition, Bowman recently was censured by a majority vote in the House of Representatives because he committed a criminal offense in Washington last September when he pulled a fire alarm, delaying a House vote and triggering an evacuation of members.

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