Several high-profile Democrats are facing the prospect of losing their seats in Congress after voters in four U.S. states cast ballots in primary elections Tuesday.
Former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, who had never run for office before, held a lead of 61% to 36% over Congressman Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with in-person voting counted.
New York election officials have cautioned that with a large number of mail-in ballots, which will not be counted until next week, final results from Tuesday’s voting will take some time.
Bowman expressed confidence about the eventual result to his supporters late Tuesday, saying, “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.”
Engel said in a statement, “With so many absentee ballots outstanding and many still coming in, we know that the full results in the primary won't be known for some time.”
Engel has represented New York’s 16th congressional district for 16 terms. Bowman is a more liberal candidate who drew the backing of prominent progressives, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who herself won an upset victory over a veteran congressman in 2018.
Mail-in ballots will decide another New York district, with Democrat Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, in a race that is too close to call with lawyer and activist Suraj Patel. With all precincts reporting, but no mail-in ballots included yet, Maloney held a 41% to 40% lead.
Ocasio-Cortez was among the New York incumbents in contested races who easily won their primaries Tuesday. Others include Congressmen Gregory Meeks and Joseph Morelle, and Congresswomen Grace Meng and Nydia Velazquez.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Congresswoman Yvette Clark had large leads, but their races have not yet been called with mail-in ballots outstanding.
Trump endorsed two New York Republicans, Claudia Tenney and Nicole Malliotakis, who each won their primaries Tuesday and will try to unseat incumbent Democrats in November.
Republican Chris Jacobs defeated Democrat Nate McMurray as voters in New York’s 27th congressional district decided a special election to select a representative to fill out the remaining months of the term of former Congressman Chris Collins, who resigned in September shortly before pleading guilty to insider trading charges. Jacobs and McMurray will face off again in November in an election for a full term.
North Carolina, Virginia
In North Carolina, newcomer Madison Cawthorn notched an upset win in the Republican primary over Lynda Bennett, the candidate who had earned Trump’s endorsement in the race. If Cawthorn wins the general election in November, he would become the youngest member of Congress at age 25.
In Virginia, retired Army lieutenant colonel Daniel Gade won a three-way race in the Republican Senate primary. He will face incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Warner in November.
Republican Scott Taylor won a three-person primary in Virginia’s 2nd congressional district and will go up against incumbent Congresswoman Elaine Luria. The two candidates faced each other in a 2018 congressional election, with Luria winning 51% to 49%.
Incumbent Democrats Donald McEachin and Gerry Connolly easily won their contested primaries in Virginia on Tuesday.
In Kentucky, with more than half of precincts reporting, former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath held a 45% to 36% lead over state lawmaker Charles Booker in the Democratic race to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the November election.
The final result is not expected for days due to a high number of mail-in ballots. Election officials said they received requests for about 883,000 such ballots and that more than 452,000 were turned in by Monday afternoon.
Whichever Democrat wins will face a tough contest against the 78-year-old McConnell, a fixture in Kentucky and the Washington power structure. McConnell has been a staunch supporter of Trump’s legislative proposals and his appointment of conservative judges. Trump is popular in Kentucky, which he won by about 30 percentage points in 2016.
There were also House primaries in Kentucky where Republican incumbents Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Harold Rogers and Andy Barr all easily won.