Friday, Jul 12th

After a Heated Fight, Latimer Wins Big in Democratic Primary

paulin latimerPaulin cheers on Latimer on election night.Westchester County Executive George Latimer has defeated incumbent Congressman Jamaal Bowman in a hard-fought primary race for the Democratic nomination to represent NY Congressional District 16. Latimer scored a resounding victory, getting 63.4% of the 67,937 votes in Westchester County, but losing to Bowman in the Bronx where Bowman received 6,682 of a total of 7,989 votes cast. Overall, Latimer came away with 58.4% to Bowman’s 41.6%.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for District Attorney, Susan Cacace had 58% with 10% of the vote for Adeel Mirza and 31% for William Wagstaff.

On Tuesday night June 25 hopeful supporters gathered in the cavernous lobby of a Westchester Avenue office building about an hour before the polls closed for the Latimer watch party. They joined early attendees, like the gaggle of eager young interns and a crew of seasoned union members donning bright t-shirts. By the time the race was called for Latimer, around 9:45 pm, the space was jam-packed and loud. On hand to introduce Latimer, Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, elicited proud screams as he called out each city and town in the District. All were represented.

Latimer took the stage offering an immediate welcome and a call for unity. His 10-minute victory speech flowed with the easy cadence of a seasoned public speaker and was defined by his humility and gratitude.

He said, “Tonight we turn the page, and say we believe in the inclusion of everyone. You are included no matter what your demographic is. It doesn't matter your age, the color of your skin, your religion, sexual identity, whether you’re a Met fan or a Yankee fan, we will govern so everyone is included. We will consider the needs of everyone in the district. We see in this room the men and women of labor, they represent the secretaries, plumbers, carpenters, firefighters, and the people like my mom and dad, who work with their hands. We’re all included. There are many countries in this world run by different kinds of systems. Out of all of the forms of government, this form of government is the best hope that we have for the greatest number of people to have the greatest possible future. We have to fight to make sure we do not vilify each other, and that we remember we are all Americans. We have serious issues to deal with, from climate change to immigration. We will argue and we will debate, but we must come together and understand the necessary for unity.”

“Now I ask you to give me a chance to go to Washington, and you've given me that first major step. I have never viewed an election as a blank check from you to me. Rather, it is a promissory note from me to you. And if I can work at the maximum capacity I have, backed by talented people and my colleagues in the district, then I will deliver on my promissory note. Starting tomorrow morning, I will prepare to be the best congressman I can be, because that is what you voted for. God bless and have a good night.”

Taking nothing for granted in the heavily Democratic district, Latimer reminded his supporters that he would need their votes in the general election and that he was elected to serve. In November he will run against former Scarsdale Mayor Miriam Levitt Flisser who has the Republican Party nomination.

Commenting on the victory, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, “I am thrilled that George won. We need someone who will be an effective leader and someone with integrity. Someone we can trust on what matters to us, and George is that person. CD-16 is very diverse, including a large Jewish community that is being confronted by anti-semitism across the globe. George has always been a uniter. The extremism and divisiveness have to go. He will be fantastic.”

samwick latimerFormer Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick and his wife Cynthia attended the celebration for Latimer.Myra Saul, who heads the Scarsdale Democratic Committee said, "The focus of the national press regarding our recent congressional primary would lead one to believe that the primary was all about the large sums of money spent during the campaign and the Israel-Hamas war. It wasn't. The problem with Mr. Bowman was that his rhetoric, views and votes, which predated the war, were a mismatch for our district and Scarsdale in particular. lkll;pok,mHis statements about the war only added to the notion that he needed to be replaced. George Latimer has been an ubiquitous figure in Westchester politics for years, capped by two successful runs for County Executive. He has been an excellent steward of our county; Scarsdale Democrats trust that he will support President Biden's agenda and will work with Republicans where possible. The Scarsdale Democratic Town Committee was one of the earliest local committees to endorse Latimer and did so enthusiastically.

Now that the primary is over, Scarsdale Democrats hope that all Democrats will unite to work for victory for President Biden and all of our candidates up and down the ticket this November. Our big tent party needs everyone to defeat Donald Trump and his congressional followers for many reasons--not the least of which is the preservation of our democracy, the protection of women's rights to bodily autonomy and to keep our Western and other alliances strong."

Scarsdale resident and volunteer Michelle Silberberg said, “While there was a lot of money spent on the race, this victory was the result of a grass roots effort to get out the vote for George Latimer. Many individuals as well as organizations came together to support Latimer whose views are more aligned with the district.”
At his campaign headquarters in the Bronx, Bowman expressed his frustration with the results and blamed outsized contributions from Jewish lobbyists who objected to his stance on Israel. According to reports $16 million in funding poured in to back Latimer, making the vote more of a referendum on Israel than a Congressional district in New York. Locals were barraged with postcards, door knockers and phone calls urging them to vote on a date that many leave town for vacation.

The campaign, along with Latimer’s long history in Westchester succeeded in winning him a resounding mandate from his constituents.

In his concession speech, Bowman said, ““This movement has never been about one person. This movement was never just about me. It was never just about NY-16. It was never just about this race and this moment. This movement has always been about justice, it has always been about humanity, it has always been about equality, and it has always been about our collective liberation.”