June 23, 2020 / 5:05 AM / 17 days ago

Factbox: U.S. Congress races to watch in Tuesday's primary elections

(Reuters) - New York, Kentucky and Virginia are among the states holding primary elections on Tuesday to choose the Democratic and Republican nominees who will compete for seats in the U.S. Congress in November.

FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (D-NY) speaks during a media briefing in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Robert

Here are some key races:

MCC AIMS FOR AOC UPSET

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leader in the Democratic Party’s progressive movement, faces a challenge from Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a moderate and former television anchor who calls herself MCC.

Ocasio-Cortez, known as AOC, brings a huge campaign war chest and a national profile to her bid for a second term in her diverse district encompassing the Bronx and Queens in New York City.

Caruso-Cabrera has the backing of the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

LONGTIME INCUMBENT ENGEL TESTED BY LEFT

Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, is accused by his Democratic opponent of being out of touch with the New York district encompassing parts of the Bronx and Westchester County that he has served since 1989.

The battle between Engel, 73, and Jamaal Bowman, a 44-year-old former teacher, pits the party establishment against its more liberal wing. Engel is backed by Democrats including 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, while his challenger won endorsements from progressive leaders including Ocasio-Cortez and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

CHANGE VERSUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Representative Carolyn Maloney’s fight for a 15th term in New York features a rematch with her 2018 opponent, Suraj Patel.

Like Bowman, Patel is trying to cast himself as the candidate for change, while Maloney touts her deep legislative accomplishments. They are vying to represent some of the wealthiest parts of Manhattan, including those residing in Trump Tower, along with parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

EX-FIGHTER PILOT IN A KENTUCKY DOGFIGHT

Amy McGrath is the Democratic Party establishment’s preferred candidate in the Kentucky U.S. Senate primary race that will decide who takes on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, in November.

But opponent Charles Booker, an African-American state legislator, has seen his prospects rise with Democratic voters amid the national protests against police brutality. He has netted endorsements from Sanders and Warren.

‘MR. NO’ AIMS TO MOVE BEYOND SPAT WITH TRUMP

Representative Thomas Massie, whom some call “Mr. No” for his votes against legislation crafted by his fellow Republicans and opposition Democrats, is being challenged by attorney Todd McMurtry in northern Kentucky.

The conservative, five-term congressman’s re-election efforts acquired an unexpected wrinkle in March, when President Donald Trump was angered by a parliamentary move Massie staged that temporarily complicated passage of a $2.3 trillion coronavirus-relief bill the president supported.

“Throw Massie out of Republican Party,” Trump tweeted at the time.

DEMOCRATS’ DREAM IN VIRGINIA

Four Democrats are competing for a U.S. House seat in central Virginia that the party is eyeing as a potential pickup from Republicans.

Democrats’ hopes of capturing the seat rose after the incumbent Republican, Representative Denver Riggleman, lost his primary bid to the more conservative Bob Good. Democrats are hoping to maintain or expand their House majority in the Nov. 3 election.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

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