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

Former Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyNY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney Carolyn Maloney will face Justice Democrats-backed primary challenger Marjorie Taylor Greene rakes in over .2M in first quarter MORE (D-N.Y.), who lost his seat last year to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezA proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US Biden angers Democrats by keeping Trump-era refugee cap Omar: 'Shameful' Biden reneging on refugee promise 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.