Progressives Head To Congress After June 23 Primary
Left: Jamaal Bowman speaks at a watch party as he takes an early lead in the democratic primary for New York's 16th Congressional District in Yonkers, New York, U.S., June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

With results still coming in and many races too close to call, it appears that progressives fared well in the June 23 Democratic primary elections.

New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the primary contest for her seat.

“What you all have shown is that a people’s movement here is not an accident, it is a mandate,” she said. The progressive torch-bearer better known as AOC faced a challenge from a more moderate former business news anchor. Ocasio-Cortez said early returns showed her constituents support her stances on Medicare for all, immigrant rights, and a “Green New Deal.”

“Some of the early results that we’ve seen have us at about 70 to 72%. To win with that kind of mandate is transformative. And it tells us our policy positions are not an accident. It’s exactly what our community has been waiting for,” she said.

New York officials said results on Tuesday night did not include returns from absentee ballots, which were requested in record numbers during the coronavirus pandemic. Those ballots will not be completely counted until a week after the election.

Also in New York, progressive candidate Jamaal Bowman, a middle-school teacher, declared victory over 16th District incumbent Congressman Eliot Engel.

Engel has spent more than three decades in Congress and chairs the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. His top donors include Wall Street and pro-Israel lobbyists. He earned the endorsement of figures ranging from Hillary Clinton to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Bowman earned the backing of progressives such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Watch TRNN’s wide-ranging interview with with Bowman here:

Voters in Kentucky saw a showdown between the two Democrats seeking to take on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

One of them, Amy McGrath, is a retired Marine fighter pilot. She holds a lead over Charles Booker, a Kentucky state legislator, who surged in polls in recent weeks of protests after the killing of George Floyd. McGrath, the Democratic establishment-backed candidate, spent over $21 million during the primary, while Booker spent just over $500,000 and won the backing of Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and progressive groups.

The vast majority of Kentucky’s 3,700 polling places were closed across the state, and the Booker campaign filed an injunction to allow voters in line when polls closed at 6 p.m. to vote.

Because absentee ballots are still outstanding, Kentucky officials said final results will not be known until June 30.

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Jaisal is currently the Democracy Initiative Manager at the Solutions Journalism Network and is a former TRNN host, producer, and reporter. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now! and The Indypendent. Jaisal's mother has taught in the Baltimore City Public School system for the past 25 years. Follow him on Twitter @jaisalnoor.