Westchester businessmen look to upset Engel in Tuesday primary

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Two Westchester businessmen are vying to take over Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel’s coveted seat on Capitol Hill in Tuesday's winner-take-all Democratic primary.

Engel has represented the 16th Congressional District of southern Westchester and the Bronx for 30 years.

Scarsdale entrepreneur Jonathan Lewis says Engel takes too much special interest money from the food and drug industries to objectively help constituents.

“I believe that that set of conflicts—and there's many more of them throughout Congress and in Congressman Engel's own career—is at the heart of why our democracy is in trouble,” says Lewis.

Derickson Lawrence, of Mount Vernon, is also challenging Engel. The longtime businessman argues he's affected more change outside of politics with a local gun buyback initiative and other programs than Engel has in office.

“It's about improving lives,” says Lawrence. “If you're able to do that with transferring experience from a business perspective, which is what I have, that qualifies you.”

Engel, endorsed Friday by several law enforcement agencies, says his challengers lack both political experience and influence.

“I don't think the voters won't to throw out a member of Congress who has worked hard, who's been effective, who has the seniority to bring home the bacon,” says Engel.

A fourth Democrat from the Bronx, Joyce Briscoe, is also running in the Democratic primary. Whoever wins the race Tuesday will most likely get the congressional seat come November, as no Republicans entered the race.

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