2020 primary voting
Evening voting at a polling site located in P.S. 094 in the Bronx

Two of New York City’s members of Congress were in danger of losing the Democratic nomination for re-election after Tuesday’s primary voting—although a large number of absentee ballots still needs to be counted.

Rep. Elliot Engel, who has been in Congress since 1989, was behind challenger Jamaal Bowman by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin in Engel’s Bronx-Westchester district.

Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn Maloney held a very narrow lead over Suraj Patel, running against her for a second time. According to unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections, Maloney—a 27-year incumbent representing the Upper East Side and chunks of Brooklyn and Queens—held a 600-vote lead over Patel out of 40,000 votes cast.

Representatives Yvette Clarke and Jerrold Nadler, however, both held comfortable leads against multiple challengers. Both had 62 percent of the vote in early tallies.

Councilmember Ritchie Torres held a strong lead in the only open Congressional race, in the Bronx district where Rep. Jose Serrano is retiring. With 96 percent of scanners reporting, Torres had 30 percent of the vote. Assemblymember Michael Blake was in second place with 19 percent, trailed by Councilmember Ruben Diaz at 15 percent. Progressive newcomer Samelys Lopez (13 percent) and Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (11 percent) rounded out the top tier in the 12-person field. Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was a distant sixth with 4 percent of the vote, a devastating blow to her political career 18 months after a stinging loss in the public advocate special election.

The other incumbent members of Congress with New York City constituents who faced primaries—Adriano Espaillat, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Thomas Suozzi, Nydia Velazquez—all prevailed easily.

In the night’s only Republican Congressional primary in the city, Assemblymember and 2017 Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis won the right to challenge Democrat Max Rose in November for the seat covering Staten Island and a slice of Brooklyn.

Councilmember Donovan Richards had a sizable lead in the Queens borough president primary, with 37 percent of the vote to former Councilmember Elizbeth Crowley’s 28 percent. Councilmember Costa Constantinides and Anthony Miranda were in a close race for third with around 15 percent, with businessman Dao Yin a distant fifth.

In the other presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden claimed 66 percent of the vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders garnered 20 percent, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg essentially tied for third with less than 5 percent. At the low end, businessman Andrew Yang drew more support than Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard edged out Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Even former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick registered some support.

In-person turnout in most races hovered around 15 percent.

The most-watched State Senate primary, a Brooklyn contest in the district where Sen. Velmanette Montgomery is retiring, saw Jabari Brisbort—who galvanized support from the left—in command over Tremaine Wright and Jason Salmon.

At least two incumbent Assembly Democrats were trailing in early returns in Queens: Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas had 41 percent over Assemblymember Michael DenDekker’s 23 percent and Zohran Mamdani had at 54 percent-46 percent lead over Assemblymember Aravella Simotas.

In what appears to have been a close call for another incumbent, Brooklyn Assemblymember Walter Mosely held a fairly narrow lead over challenger Phara Souffrant Forrest.

Also in Brooklyn, incumbent Felix Ortiz appeared to have survived a four-way race with 39 percent of the vote, while Assemblymember Diana Richardson easily beat back a comeback attempt by Jesse Hamilton. Manhattan’s Dan Quart looked set to retain his seat after brushing aside Cameron Koffman’s well-funded challenge. In the Bronx, Eric Stevenson’s attempt to return to the Assembly after a prison stint for corruption fell short, as establishment-backed Chantel Jackson won the nomination for the seat being vacated by Blake.

For complete New York City results, click here. Tallies from elsewhere in the state are here.

One thought on “Some Incumbents Sweat While Others Sail in Early Primary Returns

  1. Remember Tiffany Caban? There are no winners yet. Count all the valid absentee ballots. Incumbents will benefit as valid absentee ballots tend to be from older voters who can follow complicated instructions.

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