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Bowman is embracing underdog status in his competitive primary against Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

Bowman slams AIPAC in final debate with Latimer

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — Trailing in the polls and facing an onslaught of AIPAC-funded ads, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) used the race’s final debate Tuesday to slam what he called an avalanche of “Republican racist MAGA Trump money” attacking him.

Bowman is embracing underdog status in his competitive primary against Westchester County Executive George Latimer, who is seeking to be the first mainstream Democrat to knock off a member of the far-left Squad.

Bowman’s scandal-plagued year — marked by his errant fire alarm pull, his speculation that the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel were “propaganda” and unearthing of his old comments that flirted with conspiracy theories — has made the two-term New York Democrat uniquely vulnerable to Latimer’s challenge.

According to a June poll from PIX11 — the network that also hosted the Tuesday debate — Bowman is trailing Latimer by 17 points among likely Democratic voters. This makes Bowman a favorite to be the first incumbent House Democrat to lose a primary this year.

We’re in New York’s 16th District this week for on-the-ground reporting during the final stretch of the most expensive House primary of 2024. Ahead of the June 25 primary, it’s easy to understand why Bowman is so aggressively going after the outside spending.

AIPAC’s super PAC, United Democracy Project, has ​​poured $14 million-plus into ads designed to boost Latimer and slam Bowman. Latimer’s campaign itself has contributed a further $2.5 million, while a cryptocurrency-aligned group is also running millions of dollars of attacks against Bowman.

“[AIPAC is] spending more money in this primary than any PAC has ever spent in U.S. history,” Bowman said during his closing statement. “Why? Because I’m an outspoken Black man. I fight against genocide in Gaza, and I fight for justice right here.”

During the debate itself, the pro-Latimer spending edge was evident. One ad break featured three attacks on Bowman from UDP, Latimer and the crypto Fairshake PAC. Bowman’s campaign had just one ad.

Latimer consistently called Bowman a liar during numerous testy exchanges, arguing Bowman is more concerned with progressive rhetoric than delivering for the district.

Bowman called for an end to all U.S. military assistance to Israel, including funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system. Latimer labeled Bowman “hostile to the State of Israel” and said he would attend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress.

Meanwhile, Bowman described Netanyahu as “genocidal” and pledged to skip the address.

— Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.