June 27, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a first-time political candidate vying to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District, stunned the Democratic establishment by defeating incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in Tuesday’s primary.
The 28-year-old Bronxite, who has worked as an educator and as an organizer for Bernie Sanders, unseated a 10-term congressman viewed as one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress with a double-digit lead and over 4,000 more votes.
Ocasio-Cortez received roughly 57 percent of the vote compared to Crowley’s 42 percent, with 96 percent of scanners reporting as of early this morning according to the city’s board of elections.
Crowley, who faced a primary challenger for the first time in 14 years, conceded just after 10 p.m. yesterday, releasing a statement congratulating Ocasio-Cortez on her victory.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to represent Queens and the Bronx. I am proud of the race we ran and, more importantly, proud of all of the work we’ve done to advance this community,” Crowley said in a statement. “I want to congratulate Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on her victory tonight. I look forward to supporting her and all Democrats this November.”
Crowley, who heads the Queens County Democratic Committee and was thought to be next in line for House speaker, added that the fight against President Trump must continue with a Democratic sweep of the House.
“The Trump administration is a threat to everything we stand for here in Queens and the Bronx, and if we don’t win back the House this November, we will lose the nation we love,” Crowley said. “This is why we must come together. We will only be able to stop Donald Trump and the Republican Congress by working together, as a united Democratic Party.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who watched the results of the election from her viewing party in a Bronx bar, tweeted her reaction to the victory just before 12:30 a.m.
“This is the start of a movement,” she tweeted. “Thank you all.”
In another tweet, Ocasio-Cortez thanked Crowley for his service to the 14th.
“I look forward to working towards a take back of the House on a strong platform of economic, social, and racial justice for working class New Yorkers & Americans,” she wrote. “Let’s do this.”
President Trump also weighed in on Crowley’s defeat, claiming Crowley lost for not being “nicer” to him.
“Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election,” Trump tweeted. “In other words, he’s out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!”
Trump, however did not mention Ocasio-Cortez, who is further to the left than Crowley, and her victory.
Ocasio-Cortez ran an grassroots campaign that focused on a progressive direction for the Democratic party that includes abolishing ICE, expanding Medicare-for-All, tuition free public universities and trade schools, and ending the role of corporate finance in politics.
Her campaign also denounced establishment, out-of-touch Democrats for what she saw as settling with policies that didn’t go far enough for constituents, and bending to the will of corporations and machine politics–a frequent criticism she held against Crowley.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign also rejected donations from corporate PACS and lobbyists, a decision she said would help her stay attuned to the needs of the constituents.
Crowley’s campaign focused on his experience representing the district and how his years would translate to a tougher fight against Trump.
The two faced off in two debates, of a planned four. Crowley skipped out on two debates, including a recent one in the Bronx that resulted in a scathing response from the New York Times editorial board.
In all, Crowley received $2.5 million in contributions, with Ocasio-Cortez receiving close to $301,000. The Washington Post, however, noted that 70 percent of her campaign funds came from checks smaller than $200, pointing to her core base.
Ocasio-Cortez will now face Anthony Pappas, the Republican candidate for the 14th District, in the November general election.