“#Eliot Engel lashes out at AOC for endorsing his primary opponent”
June 8, 2020 | 5:46pm
Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday broke with her veteran House Democrat colleague, 73, and backed former middle school teacher Jamaal Bowman whose Justice Democrats-backed campaign is gaining major momentum before New York’s June 23 primary.
In a video shared to Twitter, Engel, the chair of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, fumed over the influential AOC endorsement.
“This is not a dictatorship. This is a democracy,” the 16-term Bronx-Westchester congressman said in the clip shared by Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel.
“We shouldn’t have one person, from high, even though she’s a colleague of mine, think that she can anoint whoever’s elected,” he continued.
Ocasio-Cortez made waves in 2018 when she unseated Democratic statesman Joe Crowley in an enormous upset in the neighboring Bronx district.
Political pundits say there are strong parallels between Crowley and Engel, who was missing in action in March and April as his New Rochelle district battled a large COVID-19 outbreak.
The congressman was back in the Bronx last week as it was being rocked by looting and violence, but was caught on a hot mic at a press conference admitting he wouldn’t care about the civil unrest if he didn’t have a primary around the corner.
The New York Democratic establishment appears to be turning its back on Engel — with City Comptroller Scott Stringer endorsing Bowman and one-time gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon also lending her support to the newcomer.
New York Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D. Bronx) also rescinded her previous endorsement of Engel and on Friday announced she was backing Bowman.
Engel’s gaffes are Bowman’s gain, with the 44-year-old progressive announcing a massive $427,000 fundraising haul last week.
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