Bowman wins endorsements to gain traction against incumbent Rep. Engel in primary race


Jamaal Bowman (top left), Chris Fink (bottom left), Eliot Engel (top right), and Andom Ghebreghiorgis (bottom right)

In the Democratic primary race for the 16th Congressional District (which consists of parts of the Bronx and Westchester County), challenger Jamaal Bowman has gained endorsements in his battle to unseat incumbent Eliot Engel, who has held the position for 31 years.

Meanwhile, Pelham native Chris Fink continues to position himself as the more moderate option for Engel’s seat.

Bowman, a progressive and native of New York City, has begun to gain the support of other notable progressives, including State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. Biaggi had originally endorsed Engel, but subsequently retracted her endorsement and switched her support towards Bowman.

“I support Jamaal Bowman because he is the future,” said Biaggi in an official statement announcing her endorsement. “He brings the energy, the experience as an educator for over 20 years in our public school systems.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is yet another progressive supporting Bowman. She stated that the district needed a leader with fresh and revitalized ideas and new leadership. Coincidentally, if Bowman were to unseat Engel, it would bear a striking similarity to Ocasio-Cortez’s own triumph against 10-year incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018.

“I’m incredibly humbled by their decision to endorse me,” Bowman said. “We’re all fighting for the working class, and we’re fighting for human rights and justice for all people. And we are fighting against an oppressive system that gave birth to Donald Trump.”

He is also supported by former progressive candidate Andom Ghebreghiorgis, who suspended his campaign on June 1, thereby consolidating the progressive coalition against Engel.

“With the election almost upon us, the reason why I entered the race hasn’t changed,” Ghebreghiorgis said in his press release. “I have faith that Jamaal can deliver a progressive win and unseat Rep. Engel. He’s a fellow Bronx educator whom I respect. I’m proud to stand with the Working Families Party in making the final push to send Jamaal to Congress.”

According to his website, Bowman is the principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School (CASA) in the Bronx. The school emphasizes community and social responsibility and action. His campaign largely revolves around social change, the climate crisis, and education reform. In his tenure as principal, he has seen how low-income households are not exposed to the same opportunities that the privileged and wealthy are given. He believes that the leadership of the district has ignored these domestic issues in favor of focusing largely on foreign policy.

“Engel’s been in office for 31 years, and he lived in Maryland for 27 years of those years,” Bowman said. “Real wages have been stagnant while the cost of housing, groceries, healthcare and education have all gone up.” 

Bowman, however, is not the sole Democrat fighting against Engel. Pelham native Chris Fink is another opponent for the primary win, which is a guarantee of victory in November. Fink presents himself as the moderate between Bowman and Engel. His campaign emphasizes the development of infrastructure, reforms to the school system and fixing the environmental crisis.

“(Engel) is a good man, but like anyone else, he can’t focus on every issue,” Fink said when asked about Engel’s inactivity in the district. “Too many local issues are not being addressed.”

“Chris has spent the last 35 years financing and building municipal and state infrastructure projects and clean energy plants,” according to his website. “A leading expert on green power, Chris has also helped build over 50 renewable energy power plants across the country and he knows how to get us to a carbon neutral power grid and combat climate change.”

Due to Covid-19, anyone can vote by mail ballot this year in the election this year, after it was postponed from April 28 to June 23. All registered voters were to automatically receive absentee ballot request forms via mail. Upon submitting the form by June 16, a ballot will be sent back. There will also be voting on election day.

For more information on Jamaal Bowman’s campaign, click here.

For more information on Chris Fink’s campaign, click here.

For more information on Eliot Engel’s campaign, click here.