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

Two-term Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York has the dubious honor of becoming the first Squad member ever defeated by a primary challenger and first incumbent of either party ousted in 2024

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.

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.


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.

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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.

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.”

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.

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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.


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.

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.

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

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