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Many Challengers Vie To Replace Retiring Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - North of New York City, the primary race to replace one of the most powerful congressional leaders in Washington is tomorrow.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey is retiring after more than three decades in office.

For the first time since 1989, there are congressional campaign signs littering the lawns in the 17th District, comprised of Rockland County and parts of western Westchester.

Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey's retirement means residents lose someone with seniority and clout to get the region federal money.

LINK: 2020 N.Y., N.J. Primary Election Guide

She is the first female chair of the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most important forces shaping federal spending.

"To lose somebody of that seniority to the district is a blow that can't be overcome by any junior candidate, no matter how talented," said professor David Birdsell, dean of the Baruch College Marxe School of Public Affairs.

But in the blue district, there's almost enough Democratic candidates to fill a baseball team.

"There are a lot of people putting together different cases for the candidacy," he said.

That includes current St. Sen. David Carlucci - in office for 10 years - and State Assemblyman David Buchwald, in office since 2012.

Adam Schleifer is a former federal prosecutor in the national college admissions scandal and has spent the most on campaigning - more than $4 million.

Evelyn Farkas is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under former president Barack Obama. She handled Russian policy.

Mondaire Jones is a former lawyer from Westchester County. He would be the nation's first Black, gay congressman. He's been endorsed by progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Political experts say it's hard to predict whether voters will go for things like name recognition, geography, or political endorsements, reported CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

"How do you get people in front of a ballot? That's a real challenge and we're going to see the dry run," Birdsell said.

Two women including retired firefighter Maureen McArdle Schulman and orthodox Jewish chemical engineer Yehudis Gottesfeld are running in the Republican primary.

A spokesperson for Congresswoman Nita Lowey told CBS2 she is not endorsing any of the candidates.

The election would usually see low voter turnout. Now, due to coronavirus concerns, who knows who will get their masks and gloves on to vote.

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