NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Big name endorsements and big money are driving a heated Congressional primary in the Bronx and Westchester.
Many say the race represents an ongoing family feud inside the Democratic primary.
Veteran Congressman Eliot Engel is fighting off his toughest primary challenge in 20 years.
“Everyone here knows that I’ve been a hardworking and effective congressman,” Engel said. “I’ve brought millions of dollars back to my district and back to New York, and the seniority system in the Congress, the longer you’ve been there, the more clout you have.”
Leading challenger Jamaal Bowman is a former public school principal, who says if he wins the primary “democracy grows and becomes stronger in this district. For too long, when Congressman Engel was in office, he would connect and engage a small percentage of the district.”
Four years ago, Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the district 65-35, reported CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
Mount Vernon is a rich source of Democratic primary votes. The black mayor has endorsed Eliot Engel, so has the Black Congressional Caucus.
Engel considers himself a progressive.
“I received an A rating from the NAACP and an F rating from the gun lobby,” Engel said.
“It’s time for our country to reckon with our past, reckon with our history, and document the harms of racism and how it persists in our country,” he said.
Early voting is underway. The ballots will be counted on Tuesday.