Jamaal Bowman loses New York primary to pro-Israel George Latimer

New York congressman Jamaal Bowman has lost a primary challenge, according to projections, in a closely watched race that exposed a bitter rift within the Democratic party over the Israel-Gaza war.

George Latimer, 70, entered the race at the urging of local Jewish leaders who were angry with Mr Bowman over his vocal criticism of Israel.

The former school principal has accused Israel of genocide, which it denies, and repeatedly questioned the Biden administration’s support of Israel’s government.

One group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, spent nearly $15m (£12m) in the primary to unseat the left-wing representative in New York’s 16th congressional district.

Overall, $24.8m was spent by various groups in the race, making it the most expensive House of Representatives primary in history.

With 88% of votes counted on Tuesday evening, Mr Latimer had won more than 58% of the vote, compared with 42% for Mr Bowman.

A long-time former county executive, Mr Latimer has portrayed himself as a steadfast defender of Israel and characterised Hamas as a terrorist organisation that cannot be negotiated with.

After his victory, he gave a unity message and took aim at extremist views.

“We have to look at the arguments of the far right and the far left, and say you cannot destroy this country with your rhetoric and your arguments.”

Mr Bowman, who won office in 2020, had accused Aipac of trying to “buy” the race in the district, which spans Westchester Country and part of the New York City borough of the Bronx.

“We should be outraged when a Super PAC of dark money can spend $20 million to brainwash people into believing something that isn’t true,” he said.

Last year, US lawmakers formally censured Mr Bowman after he activated a fire alarm while Congress was in session, triggering an evacuation as Democrats were trying to stall a vote to avert a government shutdown.

Mr Latimer was supported by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while Mr Bowman was backed by House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, left-wing representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and independent Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

Primary races also took place on Tuesday in Utah and Colorado.

In Colorado, headline-making Republican Lauren Boebert emerged victorious over five other rivals from her party in the state’s fourth congressional district.

Ms Boebert, 37, opted to run in the heavily conservative district after leaving the state’s third district in which she narrowly won re-election in 2022.

The primary also marked her first electoral campaign since her personal life drew the attention of national media.

In one incident, which took place last year, she apologised after being escorted out of a theatre performance in Denver after complaints of vaping, singing and causing a disturbance.

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