PoliticsThe White Plains Examiner

Personal Attacks, Accusations Fire Up Bowman, Latimer Campaigns

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There was tension last week inside the studio where the debate between Rep. Jamaal Bowman and County Executive George Latimer took place and outside.

A series of heated exchanges between Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-Yonkers) and his June primary opponent Westchester County Executive George Latimer has catapulted the highly contested race into a backbiting battleground.

Last week was the first hour-long debate between the two men in White Plains. After what ended up being a vitriolic exchange, Bowman accused the Latimer campaign of assaulting a Bowman supporter shortly before the debate started. Although the supporter did not sustain serious injuries, Bowman released a statement saying the incident was deeply shameful and that it was “not lost on me that in this race my opponent tried to portray me as an angry Black man, while attempting to divide Democratic voters by our differences.”

Latimer shot back accusing Bowman of intentionally sending someone to agitate him on the way to the debate and who shook his hand but refused to let go, seemingly trying to stop Latimer from entering the debate.

Latimer said his staff intervened causing the person to dramatically react “in a desperate attempt to distract from their candidate’s poor campaign performance and mounting scandals.”

He suggested Bowman hired professional campaign provocateurs to incite violence, which “was unacceptable behavior for a sitting member of Congress.”

During the debate Bowman lashed out at Latimer for accepting campaign donations from Republican megadonor American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to which Latimer replied “I’m not worried about who gives me donations.”

Responding to Latimer’s comments and supporting Bowman was Jasmine Gripper, co-director of the New York Working Families Party who issued a statement later in the evening.

“After taking hundreds of thousands from MAGA Republicans, George Latimer thinks we should play nice with Republican extremists trying to take away abortion rights and curtail the right to vote,” Gripper stated.

Gripper advocated for leaders “with the moral clarity to call out their dangerous rhetoric, which already incited an attack on the Capitol on January 6. Moreover, Latimer’s shameless use of racist dog-whistles to attack the congressman was disgusting and unacceptable.”

For days after the debate, the state’s Working Families Party issued several statements slamming Latimer, accusing him of accepting more than $1.3 million from donors who have given heavily to Republican candidates.

At the end of last week young people with IfNotNow, Protect Our Power and the Sunrise Movement organized a protest at what they called Latimer’s out-of-district GOP fundraiser in Armonk because he has refused to be transparent about who is funding his campaign.

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