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

Former Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyBoehner won't say whether he'd back Biden over Trump Poll shows congresswomen attacked by Trump with weak favorability ratings Ocasio-Cortez gets new Republican challenger: report MORE (D-N.Y.), who lost his seat last year to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Trump's risky bid for attention Conservative former NFL player says Trump met with him to discuss 'black America' Louisiana police officer fired after saying on Facebook that Ocasio-Cortez 'needs a round' 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.