In a big upheaval for the New York political calendar, this year’s congressional primaries will take place on June 26, following a court order that rolled back federal elections from their previous September spot. Incumbents who usually spend their spring months focused on business in Washington are now looking over their shoulders at this year’s crop of challengers, who see new district lines as a chance to pick up voters. Tomorrow, for example, canvassers for Rep. Nydia Velazquez will be going door to door in Brooklyn to shore up her support against rival Erik Dilan. In Harlem, State Senator Adriano Espaillat is scooping up endorsements in his challenge to veteran Rep. Charles Rangel.
But those are the races and candidates we hear about. In today’s Daily Q we ask: Which members of New York City’s congressional delegation have to run in June’s primary, and who are their challengers?
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What we found
Challengers have filed with the city Board of Elections to run against four incumbent members of Congress, all Democrats: Besides Reps. Velazquez and Rangel, Yvette Clarke and Gregory Meeks face threats. Candidates are also vying for seats being vacated by retirements of Rep. Gary Ackerman in Queens and Brooklyn’s Rep. Edolphus Town. Since most of the races are in staunchly Democratic districts, the primary contests will likely decide the outcomes.
Congressman Rangel’s primary is likely to be especially competitive. He faces not only State Senator Adriano Espaillat but also three other competitors. In the 5th District, in Queens, incumbent Gregory Meeks is facing three challengers, including former city councilman Allan Jennings Jr., who was unseated in 2005 after two former staffers accused him of sexual harassment. In Brooklyn, State Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries is facing off against Councilmember Charles Barron. In the 7th District, Nydia Velazquez is facing Erik Martin Dilan, George Martinez and Daniel O’Connor. Yvette Clarke of the 9th district will face Sylvia Kinard, a lawyer and businesswoman. And in the 6th District, where the retirement of Rep. Gary Ackerman has opened a seat, two state assembly members, Rory Lancman and Grace Meng, are vying for the seat, as is Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.