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Photo: Getty Images/ Campaign sites
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Why today’s primaries are the most important so far this cycle

Primaries in New York, Kentucky, and Virginia are center-stage today, as the nation remains in the thick of coronavirus, police brutality protests, and fears…

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In New York, people are rallying behind grassroots campaigns similar to AOC’s historic win, yet divided between the progressive left and mainstream Democrats.

This election cycle will also tell if the late surge from a Black candidate in Kentucky will prove to be monumental, or a politician riding the waves of national Black Lives Matter protests. By all accounts the finish is unpredictable.

Nationwide, racist statues are coming down, there are talks of police reform, and at the same time the coronavirus is exposing the flaws in the U.S. healthcare system regarding funding and racial disparity.

This is the time to see if online activism and support will translate into real change, or is performative activism skewing predictions of today's outcome? We will soon know.
 

New York
 

The race has erupted into a battle between the progressive left and mainstream Democrats.

Much talked about Jamaal Bowman is on a mission to unseat Representative Eliot L. Engel, who has held New York’s 16th District since 1989, and has been heavily criticized for his coronavirus response and pro-war policies. 

Bowman, a 44-year-old former teacher, holds education and his community close to his campaign. His is a campaign this cycle that is familiar in New York: of progressives targeting New York incumbents up and down the ballot.

Endorsed by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, many have pointed-out similarities in their grassroots campaigns. AOC, who also faces an election day Tuesday, endorsed Bowman in a tweet.

 

AOC, one of the progressive left’s biggest stars, is facing her first challenge since her 2018 historic win. The Hill reported she is taking her challenge from TV news anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera seriously.

Ritchie Torres and Melissa Mark-Viverito are two Latinx candidates running in one of the most Democratic districts in the country. They are just two out of twelve candidates running for the district.

Both say NY-15 is in danger of electing an anti-choice and homophobic candidate, Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr., who has recently been caught in controversies regarding improper use of COVID-19 food donations and his anti-LGBTQ stance.

If elected Mark-Viverito will be the first woman to represent the 15th Congressional District in the Bronx. Torres would be the first gay and Black Latinx person in either chamber of congress.
 

Kentucky
 

This election cycle in Kentucky wasn’t expected to be much of a competition, but then State Sen. Charles Booker made a late surge in line with recent Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.

Before seen as a longshot competitor against Amy McGrath, in just weeks since the killing Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Booker’s campaign made national headlines, as the winner of this race will go on to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the fall.

Booker, is the youngest Black state lawmaker in Kentucky. He’s unapologetically progressive and has become a strong presence on the front lines of protests against police brutality in his hometown of Louisville. 

His outspoken presence during these times is a factor in his surge, and today’s outcome will determine if it is solely that, or if his campaign will “shock the world.”

 

There is only one designated polling place today in Louisville, a city of 600,000 people. The New York Times reported voters who didn’t cast mail-in ballots could face long lines at the polls.

If Election Day turnout is hampered in Louisville, Booker’s hometown, “The integrity of that election is in question,” Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes said Monday.

Virginia

 

In Virginia, a long-standing Democrat faces an onslaught of Republican challengers. Incumbent Sen. Mark Warner is running for his third term, but faces a trio of Republican challengers.

2018 saw a number of battleground House districts usher-in a blue wave. This year, many of those first-time lawmakers will need to stand their ground against Republican attempts to flip the districts back.

 

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