In his district’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 25, squad member Jamaal Bowman was ousted by George Latimer.
Jamaal Bowman speaks at his election night party, on June 25, after losing his seat to George Latimer. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Jamaal Bowman Loses Bigly

The Squad member was ousted in yesterday’s primary by George Latimer, who told The Free Press: ‘Grassroots Democrats of this district do not want identity politics.’

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Squad member Jamaal Bowman—who denied Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women on October 7 and has pushed 9/11 conspiracy theories—was ousted by George Latimer in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in New York’s Sixteenth Congressional District.

Latimer, the Westchester County executive backed by American Israel Public Affairs Committee—whose super PAC spent $15 million on the race, making this the priciest primary ever—held an almost twenty-point lead over Bowman, with more than 80 percent of the votes counted. 

Speaking to supporters at his victory party in White Plains, New York, last night, Latimer taunted Bowman’s frequent campaign refrain that the contest was between “the many and the money” by saying of his win: “This is the many of Westchester and the Bronx.” 

He now proceeds to the general election, where he is almost certain to win in the deep-blue district, which stretches from the Bronx into the northern NYC suburbs and is more than nine percent Jewish.

Latimer told The Free Press his victory is a sign that “grassroots Democrats of this district do not want identity politics; they want productive politics that get results.” 

If anything, Bowman will be remembered on Capitol Hill for setting off a fire alarm, forcing the evacuation of one of the House office buildings—and apparently lying about it. His reasons for doing so are still unclear. He claimed he was in a rush to cast a vote. Republicans charged that he was actually trying to delay it. Either way, the congressman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid a $1,000 fine. In December 2023, his House colleagues formally censured him, mostly along party lines.

Bowman rocketed to power in July 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter protests across the country, defeating Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, a prominent Israel supporter.

At the time, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both supported Bowman, a former middle-school principal.

“He is exactly the kind of person that we need in Congress,” Warren said in an endorsement video, adding that, among other things, he had a plan for “rooting out systemic racism.”

His election—like that of his fellow Squad members and progressive district attorneys around the nation—was widely viewed as a sign of the ascendant progressive left. But last night’s defeat marks something of a correction.

Back in January, the rot began to show when J Street, the progressive Jewish organization that portrays itself as the left-wing alternative to AIPAC, pulled its endorsement of Bowman in response to his “framing and approach” to Hamas’s October 7 massacre in Israel.

As polls showed that Bowman would most definitely lose his seat, his campaign appearances became increasingly unhinged. In a profanity-laced speech in the Bronx on Sunday, Bowman framed his showdown with Latimer as a fight between big-money insiders and the people. “We are going to show fucking AIPAC the power of the motherfucking Bronx!” he declared.

As our colleague Eli Lake pointed out back in February, Bowman is not the only member of the Squad in trouble post–October 7.

Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, in St. Louis, who was also elected in 2020 and is under federal investigation for misuse of campaign funds, has been outraised by her challenger, Wesley Bell, a prosecutor. A February poll showed her trailing him by 22 points. That election is August 6. That same month Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, in Minnesota, also faces a tough challenge from a Minneapolis city council member who nearly beat her in 2022.

In his concession speech, Bowman blamed his defeat on AIPAC, telling supporters “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.” Bowman added: “We should be outraged when, unfortunately, some so-called Democrats are aligning themselves with radical, racist, right-wing Republicans.” 

But Michael Levinson, a Latimer supporter at the event, said the opposite was true, and that Bowman’s defeat shows a desire to return to the sensible middle.

“I think that this election sends a signal to the far left, which for too long has been given too loud a voice,” Levinson told The Free Press. “Most people are sick and tired of it, just as they’re tired of the far right.”

Peter Savodnik is a writer and editor for The Free Press. Follow him on X @petersavodnik, and read his stories here.

Julia Steinberg is an intern at The Free Press. Read her piece on the college dropout who unlocked the secrets of ancient Rome using AI. And follow her on X @Juliaonatroika.

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