Crowley says he 'didn’t underestimate' Ocasio-Cortez in primary challenge

Former Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyOcasio-Cortez endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office MORE (D-N.Y.), who lost his seat last year to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez mocks 'White House ethics' in Instagram post Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi set to unveil drug price plan | Abortion rate in US hits lowest level since Roe v. Wade | Dems threaten to subpoena Juul Kennedy to challenge Markey in Senate primary MORE (D-N.Y.) said Friday that he "didn't underestimate" the progressive firebrand in the lead up to their June primary. 

“I didn’t underestimate her,” Crowley said on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber.”

“There were a lot of factors that went into the race … but I wish her well and I want her to do well," he continued. "I want her to do well on behalf of my constituents and for the country as well.”

Crowley, a former House Democratic Caucus chairman, was one of the most high-profile incumbents to lose his seat in last year's primaries.

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“I think part of it is because she beat me. I take some solace in that … that I was important enough for people actually took note of somebody beating me,” Crowley said when asked why he thought his defeat garnered such widespread attention. 

Ocasio-Cortez made waves last year with her progressive platforms and explosive Twitter presence that helped propel her to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Crowley suggested on Friday that Democrats may need to home in on centrist policies aimed at winning over moderate voters in order to expand their presence on the electoral map. 

“I think it’s also important to remember that how Democrats won the House of Representatives was by appealing to moderate districts where Republicans held those districts,” he said Friday.