Independent, Republican and unregistered voters in New York’s Westchester County are being urged to register as Democrats ahead of the Democratic congressional primary between “Squad” member Rep. Jamaal Bowman and pro-Israel candidate George Latimer, mailers obtained by Fox News Digital show.
“Community and family transcend politics,” Westchester Unites, a group in Westchester County that works to advocate for “community over party,” said in mailers to local voters. “Especially when antisemitism is on the ballot.”
The mailers call on voters to “combat” antisemitic hate by making “our voices heard.”
“But you can only do so if you are enrolled Democratic by February 14,” one of the mailers obtained by Fox News Digital shows.
The mailer does not cite Bowman or his Democratic challenger Latimer, the current county executive of Westchester County campaigning for Congress on a pro-Israel platform, though it targets voters in Bowman’s district.
“Why change your enrollment?” a text message from the group reviewed by Fox News Digital asks. “Because this district is overwhelmingly Democratic, which means the next Member of Congress will essentially be determined in the Democratic primary.”
Bowman is up for re-election this year, but his run has been mired in controversy over comments some voters and national viewers have slammed as anti-Israel. Bowman’s district encompasses Westchester County’s southern suburban areas and parts of the Bronx, and is home to a large Jewish community.
The “Squad” member has come under fire for calling for a cease-fire shortly following the war between Israel and Hamas, for boycotting Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s speech to Congress this past summer, and defending Rep. Pramila Jayapal when she was criticized for saying that Israel is a “racist state.” Late last year, Bowman also saw an event intended to spread “healing” amid antisemitism devolve into protesters demanding that the congressman represent Jews in his district when making policy decisions.
Bowman has repeatedly denounced antisemitism amid criticisms of his previous remarks, as well as condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel when the war began on Oct. 7.
The New York congressman also faced controversy this fall after he pulled a fire alarm in the House of Representatives before lawmakers voted to avert a government shutdown. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count for triggering the fire alarm.
Latimer, who has 35 years in New York politics under his belt, emerged this summer as a potential candidate to face off against Bowman when local headlines in July declared that New York Jewish groups and Democrat donors were meeting with the county leader to test the waters for a potential run.
Latimer announced his run in December, pitching himself to voters as the candidate “who will listen to every voice, not just those who agree with him, & who will deliver on the issues that matter” if elected to Congress.
The group behind the mailers and texts sent to local Republicans and Independents urging them to switch parties was organized by a group called the Teach Action Fund, according to the New York Post.
Dan Mitzner told Fox News Digital that the group is not explicitly targeting Republicans and Independents in the district, but working to ensure all Jewish residents and unaffiliated voters are registered.
“This inclusive and empowering voter education and mobilization program is a first for the district and comes at a critical time,” Mitzner, political director of the Teach Action Fund, said in a press release provided to Fox News Digital.
“The reality is that with an alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and incidents, our Jewish community here at home is under threat,” Mitzner added. “It’s essential that the next person we elect to Congress cares about the safety and well-being of the Jewish community and all our neighbors.”
Mitzner added that only 15% of Democrats voted in the party’s 2022 primary, which he said was “bad for the district, bad for democracy, bad for the country, and bad for accountability.”
Just this week, Westchester Unites opened a voter education office in New Rochelle, according to the press release, where voters can visit for registration and absentee-ballot information and assistance.
“We are investing six figures in the first phase of this campaign, and we will not shy away from making sure as many voters as possible have their say between now and the June primary. The stakes for our community are too high to sit on the sidelines,” the press release states.
Bowman’s campaign hit back at the push to register Jewish Republicans and Independents as Democrats, arguing it is an effort to bolster Latimer’s chances in the primary.
“George Latimer held a fundraiser hosted by a Trump mega-donor and has welcomed Republican-funded Super PACs to spend in this race, so it’s no surprise supporters are asking Republicans to vote in a Democratic primary,” campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt told the New York Post. “George Latimer has abandoned the Democratic Party and voters across the district are deeply disappointed.”
The race between the New York Democrats is already hotly contested, and anticipated to be a nail biter. Bowman defeated three-term incumbent Eliot Engel when he first secured his spot in the House, which was one of the biggest Democratic primary upsets of 2020. Latimer, meanwhile, has long-established roots in the area as a political leader who champions his record of never losing an election in his career.
Neither campaign responded to Fox News Digital requests for comment.
Scroll down to leave a comment: