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George Latimer expected to launch challenge to Bowman in coming weeks

The Westchester County executive is slated to travel to Israel with the Westchester Jewish Council later this month

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Westchester County Executive George Latimer (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Following months of indecision, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is expected to launch a highly anticipated primary challenge to Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in the next few weeks, multiple sources confirmed to Jewish Insider on Wednesday.

An announcement from Latimer, a veteran Democrat who is well-known to voters across Westchester, would come as Bowman has faced mounting backlash over his positions on the Israel-Hamas war — which have angered Jewish constituents in his district.

Last week, a pro-Israel super PAC affiliated with AIPAC, which has encouraged Latimer to run, began running attack ads criticizing Bowman for his vote last month against a non-binding House resolution standing with Israel and condemning Hamas.

Two Democratic sources informed of Latimer’s thinking said he is planning to announce his campaign in early December. Another source familiar with the race, meanwhile, told JI that Latimer could declare before Nov. 26 — when he is scheduled to depart on a solidarity trip to Israel sponsored by the Westchester Jewish Council.

In a text message to JI on Wednesday, Latimer declined to confirm his plans for the primary. “Speculation but I’ve made no announcement,” he said tersely, emphasizing that he is “focused on” next year’s “county budget” as well as the “trip to Israel at month’s end with” local elected officials.

A spokesperson for Bowman’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The two-term congressman, who beat back a handful of challengers last election, said on Tuesday that he is “not concerned at all” about a new primary rival.

An anti-Bowman group, however, has conducted polling in Westchester that shows the congressman, a prominent member of the Squad, is vulnerable to a primary challenge, according to several informed sources.

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack, Bowman has struggled to assuage concerns from Jewish voters over his approach to Israel. On Monday, a meeting he had scheduled to clear the air with constituents was disrupted by protestors who questioned his calls for a cease-fire and decision to boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress this summer.

Bowman has been fundraising off the attack ads now airing in his district, which covers more than half of Westchester County and is home to a sizable Jewish population. “I need your help ASAP,” he wrote in a campaign email to supporters this week. “Chip in to help me fight back against AIPAC’s disgusting attack ads.” 

Even as Latimer readies a campaign, the dynamics of the race remain uncertain as New York’s highest court prepares to hear arguments next week on whether the state’s House lines should be redrawn.

Meanwhile, the Israel-Hamas war is also emerging as a top issue in other House races involving far-left lawmakers who have been among the most strident critics of Israel. Four lawmakers affiliated with the Squad now are facing serious primary challenges. A fifth, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), is facing attack ads in her district from a leading pro-Israel group.

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