In New York's June primary, Jamaal Bowman, an educator from the NYC suburbs running an unabashedly progressive insurgent campaign appeared to topple Rep. Eliot Engel, a 16-term incumbent, for the Democratic nomination in the state's 16th Congressional district, though Engel is now suing to challenge the validity of mail-in ballots.
Bowman told Cheddar on Thursday that he's "not worried at all" about the suit, noting that as more absentee ballots are counted, his vote count is actually widening and the delta is now about 13,000 votes.
"We want every vote to be counted as well," Bowman said. "We're very comfortable with where we are."
As Bowman seems likely to be heading to Congress — NY-16 is about as blue a district as there is and the Democratic nominee is expected to coast to victory in November — he says it's critical that the U.S. pandemic response takes a less "top-down" approach when it comes to vexing problems like whether or not to open schools in the fall.
Bowman, a middle school principal by vocation, said: "We are not ready to open schools, because we have not brought the full resources of the federal government to bear." He called on officials to get serious about "innovative" ways to safely reopen, from prioritizing alternative spaces for learning to redesigned ventilation systems in school buildings. But right now, there are "too many unanswered questions" to safely reopen, he said.
The presumptive nominee also said he'd give President Trump a grade of "less than zero" for his response to the racial unrest and protests that have gripped the nation since the death of George Floyd.
"President Trump is a racist. He is a fascist. And he wants to maintain an order of white supremacy," Bowman stated.