Jamaal Bowman’s campaign said the Democratic insurgent’s sizeable lead over veteran Rep. Eliot Engel has expanded during the early counting of absentee ballots.
Bowman’s assertion comes as the embattled incumbent has filed suit in court to preserve his right to ask a judge to review disqualified ballots.
Bowman declared victory in last month’s primary after blowing out Engel during the in-person machine count vote – 58 percent to 35 percent – in the 16th congressional district encompassing the northern Bronx and parts of Westchester County.
Bowman, a 44-year-old former Bronx middle school teacher, led the 15-term congressman by 10,183 votes after easily carrying both sides of the congressional district. Bowman garnered 25,83 votes to Engel’s 15,680, with the rest divvied up to also-ran candidates.
About 40,00 absentee votes have to be counted.
Many constituents mailed-in their ballots to avoid going to polling sites during the coronavirus pandemic.
The challenger’s lead increased by another 1,000 votes after the first 7,500 ballots were counted, a Bowman campaign spokesperson said.
Despite the daunting odds, Engel, 73, has not conceded.
“We want every vote counted and look forward to that being done,” said the Engel campaign’s lawyer, Jerry Goldfeder.
Goldfeder said the Engel campaign went to court to preserve the right to have a judge consider counting ballots that are invalidated by the city Board of Elections.
Meanwhile, absentee ballots will decide the nail biter contest between Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Democratic primary rival Sural Patel in the 12th congressional district encompassing Manhattan’s East Side, the western Queens neighborhoods that include Long Island City and parts of Astoria and Woodside and the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.
Maloney, 74, first elected in 1992, held a slim 648 vote lead in the machine count, capturing 40.3 percent of the vote to Patel’s 38.75 percent with the rest divided among other candidates.
Maloney collected 16,473 votes to Patel’s 15,825 votes. Patel carried the Brooklyn and Queens portions of the district but not enough to overcome Maloney’s cushion on her home turf in Manhattan.
More than 65,000 absentee ballots are being counted — far exceeding the in-person voting. About two-thirds of the mail-in-ballots — 47,794 — were sent by Manhattan’s East Side voters.
Maloney predicted her lead will expand and she will win re-election when all the votes are counted, but Patel has challenged that assertion and filed a petition in Manhattan state Supreme Court to preserve his right to ask a judge to intervene in the count.
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