Longtime Democratic Representative Joe Crowley (NY) on Tuesday lost his primary election to newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic Socialist who worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 election.
While Ocasio-Cortez spent just 6% of what Crowley spent on his campaign, she managed to unseat him with over 57% of the vote.
Crowley had been slated to replace Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Party leader and could have been Speaker of the House if the Dems took control of the chamber this fall. His shocking defeat, which leaves no clear choice to succeed Pelosi, suggests Crowley might have made some enemies during his 19 years representing New York’s 14th District.
â€¨The defeat also reflects the widespread call among voters to replace established politicians with younger minds.
“We have had our country on autopilot and we’ve been accepting what’s been happening,” said Ocasio-Cortez last month. “And what’s happening in this country is indicative that we need new leadership.”
Ocasio-Cortez ran a low-budget, grassroots campaign focused on liberal policies such as “Medicare for all” and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Her social media campaign portrayed her as a working-class champion and drew stark parallels between herself – a young, Puerto Rican female – and Crowley, a 56-year-old white man.
“We beat a machine with a movement, and that is what we have done today,” said Ocasio-Cortez as the results came in. “Working-class Americans want a clear champion and there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.”
President Trump was tickled when he heard the news of Crowley’s defeat.
“Big Trump-hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just lost his primary election,” tweeted Trump on Tuesday. “This is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!”
Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of working-class Puerto Rican parents who was born and raised in the Bronx. She attended Boston University and then worked as a community organizer in New York before joining the Sanders team in 2016. In 2017, she launched her campaign to unseat Crowley.
If Ocasio-Cortez defeats Republican opponent Anthony Pappas this fall, she will be the youngest person in Congress in 2019.
Editor’s note: Some of the media is talking about an internal civil war between the Bernie Sanders followers, who are extreme left, and the Democrat moderates. This could be interesting to see if other incumbents fall before the mid-terms.