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MONEY MATTERS

George Latimer announces huge fundraising haul in campaign against Rep. Bowman

The Westchester County executive raised nearly $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2023

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

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

George Latimer, the popular Westchester County executive now challenging Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), announced on Monday that his campaign had pulled in nearly $1.4 million last month, a major fundraising haul.

Latimer’s strong fundraising performance underscores that his race will be among the top priorities of pro-Israel groups this cycle. His campaign was officially endorsed by AIPAC last week.

It also further indicates that Bowman, who is among a handful of Squad members facing new primary challenges over their hostile views toward Israel, is uniquely vulnerable as he prepares to defend his seat again, even as the current district lines could be redrawn in the coming months.

Bowman, who launched his reelection campaign last Wednesday, has not yet shared his fundraising total for the final quarter of 2023, which is due at the end of the month. The two-term incumbent raised just over $250,000 between July and September last year, entering October with around $182,000 on hand, according to the most recent federal filings.

In a statement, Latimer, a veteran Democrat who entered the race in early December, said that the majority of his campaign contributions had come from local donors in the Bronx and Westchester County, which covers most of the current district.

“I’m honored and humbled with the depth of grassroots energy that is powering this campaign,” he said. “But I’m running against an incumbent with a national fundraising network, and we know he’ll be able to rely on outside money for his campaign.”

Despite the warning, Latimer is expected to draw significant support from leading pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC, whose political action committee officially backed his campaign last week — in its first endorsement of a non-incumbent this election cycle.

Democratic Majority for Israel has also circulated fundraising emails urging supporters to donate to Latimer’s campaign, even as it has yet to disclose if it will make an endorsement. 

Meanwhile, J Street, the left-wing Israel advocacy group, said on Friday that it was rescinding its endorsement of Bowman over his increasingly incendiary rhetoric on the Israel-Hamas war, which has drawn backlash from Jewish voters in his district. Last cycle, J Street helped raise nearly $40,000 for Bowman’s campaign through its web portal, while its super PAC dropped an additional $100,000 into the race.

Latimer isn’t the only Squad challenger to post strong fundraising numbers this week. Wesley Bell, the prosecuting attorney of St. Louis County who is challenging Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), announced on Monday that his campaign had pulled in nearly $500,000 last quarter. Bush, who raised only $120,000 between July and October last year, has not revealed her most recent fundraising figures.

Two Squad members who are facing challengers this cycle have posted robust fundraising totals. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who is seeking to fend off several Democratic rivals, said earlier this month that she had raised more than $1.6 million in the final quarter of 2023. Her top challenger, Don Samuels, has yet to announce his total.

And Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA), a freshman House member who withstood a barrage of spending from AIPAC last cycle, announced last week that she had raised more than $1 million last quarter, outpacing a top Democratic primary challenger, Bhavini Patel, who said earlier this month that she had pulled in approximately $310,000 since she entered the race in October.

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