Challengers put Engel, Maloney on thin ice; Torres ahead in Bronx Congress race

Jamaal Bowman has emerged with a big lead over 30-year incumbent Congressman Eliot Engel in the Bronx/Westchester 16th District primary, while Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney faces a tough battle with Suraj Patel in the 14th District seat. (Reuters)

With tens of thousands of absentee ballots yet to be counted, the preliminary returns from the June 23 primary show two long-time Members of Congress from New York in jeopardy of losing their seats.

Bronx/Westchester Congressman Eliot Engel finds himself trailing against challenger, advocate and educator Jamaal Bowman, in the 16th District race. With 14,788 votes counted thus far, Bowman has a near 4,000 vote lead (9,116) over Engel (5,267), who’s held a Congressional seat for more than 30 years.

Attorney and activist Suraj Patel (Courtesy of the Suraj Patel campaign)

Meanwhile, Manhattan/Queens Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney maintains a slight advantage over one of her three challengers in Tuesday’s primary, attorney and activist Suraj Patel, for the 12th District seat. With 31,419 votes counted, Maloney (13,249) has a less-than-1,000 vote lead over Patel (12,550), who’s making his second attempt at unseating the 14-term lawmaker.

Councilmember Ritchie Torres in the City Council chamber, Oct. 17, 2019. (Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY)

In the one open New York City Congressional seat up for grabs, the 15th District in the Bronx, City Councilman Richie Torres has emerged ahead of 11 others on the ballot for the Democratic nomination. So far, Torres has 8,372 of the 27,030 votes counted thus far, followed by Assemblyman Michael Blake (4,928) and City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. (4,050). 

For other incumbent Congress members from New York City facing challengers on Primary Day, the contests have been far less tense.

Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks of the 5th District has a 20,000 vote lead on rival Shaniyat Chowdhury. In the 6th District, Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng has a solid, 7,000-vote advantage on two opponents: Mel Gagarin and Sandra Choi.

Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez seems on her way to another term as representative of the 7th District. She’s got a nearly 16,000 vote lead on her opponent, Paperboy Love Prince.

Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of the 9th District is firmly ahead of five other challengers, including Adem Bunkeddeko and Chaim Deutsch. Clarke is ahead of her closest rival, Bunkeddeko, by about 16,000 votes.

In the 10th District, Manhattan/Brooklyn Congressman Jerry Nadler appears poised to fend off two challengers for his seat, Lindsey Boylan and Jonathan Herzog. Nadler’s got a 9,500-vote lead on Boylan, his closest challenger.

Manhattan/Bronx Congressman Adriano Espillat looks like a lock for another term in Congress representing the 13th District. He has a nearly 12,000 vote lead on his closest rival, author James Felton Keith II.

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stumps for votes in Astoria, Queens on primary day. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems poised to win another term in Washington, DC. The 14th District representative has a commanding, nearly 15,000-vote advantage on her closest competitor, former reporter Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. 

Finally, on the Republican side, Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis defeated Joseph Caldarera to win the party’s nomination for the 11th Congressional District seat. She’ll take on freshman Congressman Max Rose in November for the office representing southern Brooklyn and Staten Island.

As noted, the Democratic primary results are far from official. The contest in New York saw more than 700,000 absentee ballots distributed, and the Board of Elections has yet to receive them all. It’s expected the board will begin counting the absentee ballots on June 30.

Note: Preliminary numbers provided by the New York City Board of Elections, based on the early voting numbers and the votes cast on June 23.