House Democrat becomes the first Squad member ever defeated in a primary battle

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House Democrat becomes the first Squad member ever defeated in a primary battle

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Two-term Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York has the dubious honor of becoming the first House member of either party to be defeated by a primary challenger so far in the 2024 election cycle. 

And Bowman also becomes the first member of the Squad, a progressive group of diverse House Democrats, to be ousted from Congress.

This after the Associated Press projected that rival George Latimer would defeat Bowman in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in New York’s 16th Congressional District – which covers southern Westchester County [in suburban New York City] and a small portion of The Bronx.

“This race was hard-fought, and hard-won,” Lattimer said in his victory speech.

The primary between Bowman, a former middle school principal who four years ago ousted 16-term Rep. Eliot Engel in the Democratic primaries – and Latimer, a Westchester County executive, had already earned a page in the record books as the most expensive congressional primary in the nation’s history.

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U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) greets Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while he campaigns in the Bronx borough of New York City, U.S., June 22, 2024.  REUTERS/Joy Malone (REUTERS/Joy Malone)

And the contentious battle between a member of the Squad and his more moderate challenger spotlighted the Democrats’ deep divisions over the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza..

Bowman – who has been outspoken about his support for Palestinians amid the war in Gaza and has charged that Israel has committed genocide – was targeted by roughly $14 million in spending by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the deep-pocketed pro-Israel group that supported Latimer.

WATCH: THIS HOUSE PRIMARY IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN CONGRESSIONAL HISTORY 

Progressive rock stars Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York supported Bowman, and teamed up with the besieged lawmaker at a rally Saturday in The Bronx. The event was anything but a PG-rated spectacle, as Bowman repeatedly used profanities.

“We are going to show f–king AIPAC, the power of the motherf–king South Bronx!” Bowman said at the rally, which was held outside the congressional district’s boundaries.

As he conceded on Tuesday night, Bowman made what he called a “public apology” for “sometimes using foul language.”

But he added that “we should be outraged when a super PAC of dark money can spend $20 million to brainwash people into believing something that isn’t true. We should be outraged about that.”

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Latimer called Bowman’s language “inappropriate. Period.”

And Latimer emphasized that “during this campaign I’ve been called a lot of unkind things. I’ve opened up a weekly newspaper in this county and seen myself referred to as genocide George. I’ve had all sorts of claims lobbed at me.”

“I think there’s been a lot of criticism lobbed at me by my opponent that’s unfair and inaccurate,” Latimer argued, “But I don’t think I get it right to use my temper. I don’t think I get the right to curse in public and carry on in a certain way.”

Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York is facing the prospect of being ousted in Tuesday Democratic primary by challenger George Latimer, the Westchester County executive.

Westchester County executive George Latimer, who is primary challenging Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman in New York’s 16th Congressional District, speaks after he’s endorsed by local clergy leaders, on June 24, 2024 in Mount Vernon, N.Y. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

While the Israel-Hamas war was a top issue in the primary, it was not the only one at play.

Bowman, who’s grabbed plenty of attention during his four years in Congress for his verbal warfare with Republicans and for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building last year during a vote over government funding, was also hit for voting against President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill and against raising the debt limit.

And Latimer argued that Bowman had lost touch with constituents in the district.

While knocking off an incumbent is extremely difficult – and had yet to be accomplished by a challenger so far this cycle – Latimer was well known in the district.

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Latimer, a former state senator, was endorsed by local mayors and council members, multiple Westchester County legislators, and by former Secretary of State and former Sen. Hillary Clinton. The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee lives close to the district, in northern Westchester County.

He spoke with reporters on Monday at an event where he was endorsed by more than a half-dozen diverse clergy leaders from the congressional district.

The ads on behalf of Latimer were also a factor. A record $25 million has been spent by outside groups and the two campaigns to run ads in the district, which is located in New York’s pricey media market, according to Adimpact, a well-known national ad tracking firm.

Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks to the crowd while he campaigns in the Bronx borough of New York City, on June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Joy Malone

Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks to the crowd while he campaigns in the Bronx borough of New York City, on June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Joy Malone (REUTERS/Joy Malone)

Bowman, speaking at a campaign event on Monday, said “this race has gotten national attention because it is the ultimate many verses the money race, and we are the many, we are the people.”

And he argued that “we can not let special interest billionaires…buy this congressional seat.”

Age and race were also at play in the primary battle. Bowman is 48 years old and Black and part of a new generation of rising Democratic Party stars. Meanwhile, Latimer is 70 years old and white, and is a politician who spotlights his commitment to old-school retail style politics.

Latimer, taking to social media after delivering primary night victory comments, emphasized that “while this race garnered a lot of headlines, tomorrow we turn a new page. We must come together, united to defend our Democratic values from MAGA extremism.”

Fox News’ Sandy Ibrahim and Caroline Elliott contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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