LATIMER TO RUN FOR CONGRESS– 16 C.D.– PROFILE OF THE DISTRICT

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WPCNR NEWS & COMMENT. By Professor Stephen Rolandi. December 6, 2023:

LATIMER TO RUN FOR CONGRESS – 16 C.D.

County Executive Latimer’s decision to file for the Democratic Party nomination for the 2024 16 C.D. primary against incumbent Rep. Jamaal Bowman will draw national attention in a year when the Democrats’ strategy to re-claim the House majority runs “through New York State.”

Mr. Latimer is term-limited as County Executive in 2025, so it is the logical next step for him to run for Congress.

The 16 C.D. includes a small portion of Bronx County (Wakefield); the bulk of the District covers the southern half of Westchester County, including: White Plains, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Rye, Port Chester, Mamaroneck and Larchmont.

According to the 2020 census, the 16 C.D. is 40% white; 60% persons of color (breakdown is: 19% African-American; 30% Spanish-speaking; 6% Asian; 5% other); women make up 52% of the District and men, 48%; median household income is $ 96,000. This is a district that is strongly Democratic, as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden all won the 16 C.D.

In 2022, Representative Bowman, running for re-election, received only 56% in the primary and 64% in the general election against an under-funded Republican-Independent candidate. He is a member of Justice Democrats, the “Squad,” and  has been endorsed by the Working Families Party (WFP) for re-election. He has angered many voters in the 16 C.D. by his controversial stands on many issues.

This should benefit Mr. Latimer, who is viewed as a centrist Democrat and has won repeatedly in elections that comprise the 16 C.D. as well as Westchester County. He will likely run a campaign stressing his dynamic public service record and his ability to appeal to a wide range of voters in the District.

  1. The State Legislature has to set the primary date — might be June, might be August, or could be both  – one day for state primary elections, the other for Federal offices;
     
  2. I believe there is pending litigation on the Congressional district lines; if resolved in time for the primary, it could have some impact on the Latimer-Bowman primary.  

Bottom Line:

Given the district’s demographics, I would expect Mr. Latimer to win the June primary. The general election may be a different story; Mr. Bowman has the WFP endorsement; a three way-race could occur if Mr. Latimer wins the Democratic Primary, and the Republican and Conservative Parties recruit their own candidate. 

If that candidate were well-funded and more moderate (similar to Rep. Mike Lawler), the race could be competitive. This will also depend on who is running at the top of ticket for President. Time will tell.

 

(Professor Stephen Rolandi previously served as Deputy Commissioner for the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the New York City Department of Records and Information Services. A political scientist, he is an Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Pace University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. His views do not necessarily reflect those of his current/former employers).

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