Political stunner! Crowley knocked off by millennial challenger
Longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), who’s been viewed as a potential House Speaker, is projected to lose the Democratic primary, a massive upset that will shake up the political world in New York and Washington.
The Associated Press called the race around 9:50 p.m. EDT. With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Ocasio-Cortez was leading Crowley, 57.6 percent to 42.4 percent.
Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, defeated Crowley in his deep-blue district that encompasses northwest Queens and the eastern Bronx.
Crowley, who’s chairman of the House Democratic caucus, is the third incumbent to lose a primary this cycle, but the first sitting Democratic member to be defeated.
This is the first time in 14 years that Crowley, 56, has faced a primary challenger. Crowley has long been seen as a potential successor to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). And he’s been a staple in New York City politics as chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party.
Crowley congratulated Ocasio-Cortez on her primary victory, offering his support to her and took a jab at President Trump. At his election night party, Crowley played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”
“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 in a statement Tuesday night.
“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.”
Trump also weighed in on Crowley’s stunning defeat, tweeting that he was a “big Trump hater” and should have been “nice.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign gained significant traction when a campaign video went viral late last month. She earned high-profile endorsements from national progressive groups including Sanders-aligned Our Revolution, MoveOn.org and Justice Democrats.
Political observers have likened Ocasio-Cortez’s upset to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) unexpected primary loss in 2014 to now-Rep. Dave Brat.
New York’s 14th District is one of the most diverse districts in the country, with Hispanics making up half of the population. Ocasio-Cortez is a first-time candidate, with a mother born in Puerto Rico and a father from the Bronx.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of several insurgent, millennial challengers to challenge entrenched Democratic incumbents in New York City on Tuesday. She ran on the need for new representation, criticizing Crowley for living outside the district. His family owns a home outside of Washington, D.C.
She was also heavily outspent by Crowley, who’s been a formidable fundraiser. The congressman spent $3.4 million, while Ocasio-Cortez spent just $200,000.
“This race is about people versus money. We’ve got people, they’ve got money,” Ocasio-Cortez said her viral campaign video.
Ocasio-Cortez scored some last-minute help from the field organizer for Democrat Ayanna Pressley, a Boston City councilor who’s running in a primary against Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.).
Crowley had scored some big endorsements from colleagues, but one lawmaker endorsement in particular riled up those in progressive circles.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a progressive lawmaker who won his own primary challenge against an incumbent in 2016, initially backed Crowley. But after pressure from progressives on social media, Khanna issued a dual endorsement.
While Ocasio-Cortez is so far the only primary challenger to knock off an incumbent, other upstart candidates had strong performances.
Democrat Adem Bunkeddeko, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, is just 2 points behind Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke, who’s been in office since 2007.
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney also had her first primary challenge since 2010, but she defeated her opponent Suraj Patel, a 34-year-old hotel executive and professor. She won by double-digits, 58 percent to nearly 42 percent.