It was all about turning out votes on the first day of early voting for Rep. Jamaal Bowman and challenger, Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

The two are locked in a competitive Democratic primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District, which covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.

What You Need To Know

  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman is facing a primary challenge from Westchester County Executive George Latimer
  • The Democratic primary for New York's 16th Congressional District covers parts of The Bronx and Westchester
  • Latimer spent Saturday morning with members of New York's Carpenters' Union. Bowman kicked off his rally with a basketball game, meeting voters and then casting a ballot
  • Saturday was the first day of early voting, which runs through June 23. Election Day is June 25

Latimer started his day off in Yonkers with hundreds of members of the Carpenters’ Union.

“George!” “Latimer!” “George!” “Latimer!” was one of the chants at the heavily attended rally.

“This is not about me. This is about your lives and the things that you’re trying to do for your family. You want to have a good life to raise your children. You want to be there with your wife or husband and be able to enjoy the fruits of your hard work,” Latimer said to the audience.

Latimer has accused Bowman of being more focused on his national profile than on issues facing the district. Since first taking office in 2021, Bowman has aligned himself with progressive lawmakers known as “the Squad.”

“What do you expect out of a person you send to Washington? Do you expect them to be focused on the communities they represent, understand those problems, who those people are and deliver for them?” Latimer asked. “Or do you send someone down to join a philosophical group like the Squad and talk in very general terms in how they want to see society change?”

Bowman, meanwhile, looked to drum up support, casting his ballot at an early voting site in New Rochelle.

He also played basketball and met with constituents in a nearby park, while touting his achievements for the district.

“Right here in New Rochelle, $12 million for the Lincoln Ave project, $16 million on top of that for climate justice, $2.5 million for the school district, $5 million for the other Boys & Girls Club,” Bowman said. “It’s a joke. We’ve been bringing back resources to the district since we’ve gotten into office.”

Bowman also pushed a message of helping working class New Yorkers.

“Our democracy is at stake. We need working class champions in congress,” Bowman said. “If we don’t implement policy and bring resources into the communities that have been left behind, our democracy doesn’t work for anyone.”

Some New Yorkers who came out to vote early in New Rochelle said some of the issues motivating them are reproductive rights and democracy.

“We really are in an age of involvement, if we are not activated to vote, then things will change, but they will change in a way that most people in this country don’t want to see happen,” voter David Peters said.

The city's Board of Elections announced Saturday night over 6,000 people turned out for the first day of early voting.

Ahead of early voting, some groups got involved in the race. One in particular was Westchester Unites, trying to activate Jewish voters in the district. The Israel-Hamas war has been one of the main issues in the race.

“What we wanted to do was make sure everyone’s voice was heard, whether they’re voting one way or the other. That they should at least participate in the primary because that is how the race is going to be decided,” Dan Mitzner, political director of the group, said Friday.

Election Day is June 25.