Engel race too close to call, Trump-backed House candidate loses in NC, in Tuesday primaries

Election results were slowed by the increase in mail-in balloting

Last Updated:
June 24, 2020 - 4:47pm

Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie, the libertarian-minded congressmen whose votes have roiled fellow House Republicans and President Trump, on Tuesday night won his primary – with many other marquee races being decided as mail-in ballots continue to be counted.

In western North Carolina, Republicans picked 24-year-old investor Madison Cawthorn over Trump-backed real estate agent Lynda Bennett, in a runoff for the seat vacated by GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, who resigned to become President Trump’s chief of staff, according to the Associated Press.  

The most-high profile race of the evening, long-time New York Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel’s reelection bid, remains too close to call. However, the New York Times reports he is trailing Jamaal Bowman, an educator and political newcomer who has drawn strength from anti-racism protests and his accusations that Engel has grown aloof from his diverse district in parts of the Bronx and Westchester. 

Bowman has been helped by progressive groups and lawmakers such as Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is backed by such Democratic luminaries as Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Ballot counting and declaring winners this election cycle has been slowed by an increase in mail-in voting, as a result of the coronavirus. The slow results counting in primaries since the start of the virus in mid March is a likely preview for the November presidential election.

There were reports of some long waits on Tuesday at polling stations but none similar to those that occurred in Georgia and other states in recent weeks. 

In other races Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell easily won his Kentucky primary. But the much-watched Democratic primary between first-term state legislator Charles Booker and former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath remains undecided.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., won renomination, amid speculation that the freshmen congresswoman’s style of progressive, firebrand politics was too much for voters.  

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