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Decisive Win for Latimer

(l-r) Supporters with George Latimer (center) and White Plains Council Members Justin Brasch and Rich Payne. (Credit: George Latimer Facebook Page)

On Tuesday June 25, Westchester County Executive George Latimer defeated incumbent Congressman Jamaal Bowman by double digits in the democratic primary for New York’s 16th congressional district. NY-16 includes lower Westchester County and parts of the Bronx. The race was considered a major Democratic battleground election, pitting a progressive leftist “pro-ceasefire” Bowman against a more moderate Latimer. During the week leading up to the election and even at his concession speech Bowman consistently repeated profanity-laden anti-Israel and anti-Jewish tropes about AIPAC and “dark Jewish money.”

According to Maury Litwack on behalf of Westchester Unites, a voter mobilization effort of the Orthodox Union’s Teach Coalition, “14,871 Jewish voters turned out in the NY-16 Democratic primary, representing 57.66% turnout of eligible Jewish voters in Westchester. In comparison to the rest of the district, this accounts for 23.73% of all votes cast. Jewish voters turned out at 2.4 times the rate of the rest of district voters.”

Westchester Unites partnered with 35 community institutions, worked with over 650 volunteers, and together knocked on 12,500 doors and made over 50,000 phone calls. CBS said it was the most expensive House primary race in U.S. history:
More than $25 million was raised and spent.

“The stakes have never been higher for Jews in this country, and while the results of NY-16 proved that we are a force to be reckoned with, there is still more to be done,” said Litwack. “That’s why, in the months ahead, our independent but affiliated 501c4, Teach Action Fund, will be engaging in races nationwide through its new voting effort, Jewish Voters Unite Action Network. Just as we did in NY-16, Jewish Voters Unite will be the mobilizing force in communities nationwide, providing Jewish voters the tools and resources needed to make their voices heard.”

According to Jewish Insider, Bowman’s “extreme rhetoric lost him the endorsement of the progressive Middle East advocacy group J Street, which had previously backed him. By the end of the campaign, he made his anti-Israel views at the center of the campaign, even reaching out to the far-left Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for support.”

Latimer supporters.

At the election night victory celebration in White Plains, the capacity crowd heard Deputy Westchester County Executive Ken Jenkins thank everyone who worked on the campaign. “They tried to tell us who he was. We know better, here in Westchester County. We know how much George Latimer has meant to every one of us,” said Jenkins. “We know George Latimer makes a difference for each and every one of us every day,” he said.

In his victory speech, Latimer reflected on this campaign, “You always wonder how you are going to go on, when you are attacked and you see something written that is untrue and unkind. But, I always thought that the people in this room were with me, every single step of the way. Even when I was alone, they let me know that I wasn’t.

“Tonight, we say, we believe in the inclusion of everybody. You are included, no matter what your demographic is; it doesn’t matter your age, color of your skin, religion, sexual identity, whether you are right-handed or left-handed, whether you are a Mets fan or a Yankee fan. Our inclusiveness in Westchester County is how you govern,” Latimer said.

“We have tried to govern inclusively and to consider the needs of everybody in this district.” Latimer added, “This is the template that we need, on a broader level.”

“When I go to Washington, DC, we are one of 435,” qualifying if he wins the general election in November. “There are good men and women in Washington that feel the same way we do. We have to find each other, a link with each other. 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. We need to have unity across that continuum. You need to work with other people who don’t share that belief, because America hangs in the balance.”

Noting that everyone has skill and ability, “In this room are people with varied talents and we can’t afford to unfriend them and rule them outside of our circle. We need all those talents and skills together, for this country to rise. The only way this country rises is if we all rise; all of us together.” Latimer continued, “I don’t want us to vilify anybody. There are many men and women who have accomplished things and have resources because of those accomplishments.”

Looking back on his many roles in government, “You have given me faith when you sent me to the Rye City Council, when I was 34 years old. You took a leap of faith sending me to Albany. Then, I had the opportunity to come before you again and asked you for the opportunity to run this government. Now, six and a half years later, you know you don’t need a campaign ad to tell you who George Latimer is. So now, I ask you to give me a chance to go to Washington. Let me try to do what I can do to bring some positive result to what is happening down there.

“I have never viewed an election as a blank check from you to me,” Latimer concluded. “It is a promissory note from me to you! In Washington, If I can be the friend that I have always tried to be, then I would have delivered on that promissory note. That is my intent, starting tomorrow morning, I will make sure that I am prepared to be as good a congressman as I can be, because that is what you voted for.”

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