The progressive group that helped put Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Congress is turning its sights on the congressional district next door, backing a middle school principal in a Democratic primary challenge against Rep. Eliot Engel.
The Bronx-based district is the next battleground in the simmering civil war between the insurgent-left and the party's establishment, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has vowed to back all incumbents.
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Justice Democrats and allied groups are focusing this year on targeting moderate Democrats in safe blue districts, rather than emphasizing trying to win swing seats. Last week, the group announced it was also supporting a primary challenger to Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.
Jamaal Bowman, a former New York City public school teacher and activist, is launching his campaign Tuesday with the endorsement of Justice Democrats, the group that recruited Ocasio-Cortez last year to take on Joe Crowley, the district's longtime Democratic representative.
"Our grassroots movement shocked the country last year with AOC's upset victory, and we are prepared to do it again in New York’s 16th District," said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats. "It's time to usher in a new generation of progressive leadership into the Democratic Party."