Describing the divisions in the Democratic Party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed 16-term incumbent Representative Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) after progressive Dear Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes threw his weight behind his challenger Jamal Bowman.
“I firmly support Elliott Engel for Congress, and Alexandria for Congress too,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “I think both New Yorkers are very blessed to be in Congress.”
On Wednesday, a Bronx-Queen’s congresswoman announced her endorsement of former middle school principal Bowman, 44, using a series of tweets from her initial writings on social media, with the support of the left-leaning Democrats. The House Foreign Relations Committee chairman is trying to oust Engel.
The 73-year-old liberal represents a district from parts of The Bronx and Westchester next to the home base of Ocasio-Cortez.
“This moment requires renewed and revitalized leadership across the country and on the ballot box,” Ocasio-Cortes, 30, Said in a tweet.
He called the black Bowman “a profound social leader.” Engel’s district has mostly black and Hispanic voters.
This week Engel got into a controversy when he asked for a hot mic, saying he wasn’t really worried about looting his constituency.
During a press conference with local leaders and elected officials, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. asked if he could make some comments on the microphone.
When Diaz Jr. said there were too many people on the list, Engel mumbled through his mask: “If I don’t have a principal, I don’t care.”
“What is it?” Diaz Jr. asked her, according to audio captured on the News 12 live feed of the event, NY1 reporter Emily Enko shared on Twitter.
“If I don’t have the primary, I don’t care,” he repeated.
“Don’t do that to me,” Diaz Jr. scolded him.
Political pundits fear, Engel is setting himself up as the next Joe Crowley, a longtime powerful incumbent, who was upset by the AOC’s defeat in a spectacular 2018.