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Battle between incumbent Engel, upstart Bowman gaining national attention

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 21:43:31-04

NEW YORK — A local battle for Congress is grabbing national headlines and big endorsements.

Eliot Engel, a representative from New York for over 30 years, faces a challenge from educator Jamaal Bowman. Their campaign for Engel's seat in the House, representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester, has divided up the Democratic Party.

"I love being in congress, I love helping people, I love making progress for my district," Engel told PIX11 News Tuesday.

Engel, who has been in Congress since 1989, has his toughest primary challenge in two decades from Bowman, a middle school teacher from the Bronx. He's the son of a single mother, raised in public housing.

"I've been serving and fighting for the needs of my kids and my families throughout my career," Bowman told PIX11 News.

Bowman has been endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former gubernatorial candidate and actress Cynthia Nixon.

The upstart's impressive list of endorsements has led some more establishment figures in the party to put their name out for Engel. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have endorsed the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Engel believes his track record and availability will resonate with primary voters on June 23.

"We have three district offices," he said."People come in any problem they have. My slogan is 'no problem is too big or too small'."

Engel created controversy earlier in June when cameras captured him during a press conference. Engel asks if he can speak at an event in the Bronx, saying "if I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care."

Bowman believes the time for change is now.

"I just believe in economic and racial equality and in the wealthiest nation on Earth, you shouldn't have tens of millions of people living in poverty," he said. "That's unacceptable."

Tuesday is the final day to apply for an absentee ballot in New York online. You can do so here. You can find more information on how early voting works here.