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In New York

In Primary Elections, These Democrats Among Upstarts

NEW YORK--For Suraj Patel, running for Congress against an entrenched incumbent has led to some awkward and unexpected moments.

Elected officials have asked him to delete their pictures from his campaign’s Facebook page. When he has tried to set up meetings with key New York City leaders, some refused--simply because they do not dare to be seen with him in public. Many did not answer at all.

“You’ll never eat lunch in this town again if you challenge Carolyn Maloney,” Mr. Patel recalled one political consultant warning about his race against a 13-term Democrat.

For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, challenging Representative Joseph Crowley has meant watching local Democratic officials bolt the other way from her at parades, wary of appearing too close to her. Some have agreed to meetings, but behind closed doors--no cellphones allowed.

Mr. Patel, 34, and Miss Ocasio-Cortez, 28, are among a group of energetic Democratic insurgents across the country, many of them young or female or people of color, who are seeking to knock off some of Congress’s most tenured Democrats.

They have not succeeded so far: No congressional Democrat in America has lost a primary in 2018.

The establishment’s winning streak will be tested again on Tuesday in New York City, where primary contests feature four Democratic challengers in one of the densest concentrations of intraparty battles in the nation.

While national Democrats have celebrated the President Trump-inspired surge of activist energy coursing through...To read more, subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper