The Democratic primary in NY-14 turned into a stunning upset for the DSA as 56-year old Joe Crowley, 20-year veteran lawmaker representing the Bronx and the Dems' number 4 in the House leadership and Caucus chair, found himself losing by double digits last night to 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Rep. Joe Crowley, one of the top Democrats in the House of Representatives, lost his New York primary in a shocking upset on Tuesday night to community organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Crowley, having fundraised nearly $3 million for the race in New York’s 14th District, fell easily to a first-time candidate with a viral introduction video, a Democratic Socialists of America membership card, and a proudly leftist agenda. She ran on Medicare-for-all, a federal jobs guarantee, and getting tough on Wall Street. The race was called just before 10 pm for Ocasio-Cortez.
For those who closely watch elections, this is the biggest primary upset since then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated by David Brat in 2014. Brat ran on a campaign of depicting Cantor as a creature of Washington rather than a true representative of the district.
Likewise, Crowley, who has been in Congress since 1999, is the No. 4 Democrat in the House and was widely viewed as an eventual successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Though he was a stalwart progressive on nearly every issue, he also had close ties to Wall Street. This made him a formidable fundraiser, something that Ocasio-Cortez turned against Crowley in the primary. She eventually fundraised about $600,000 through small-dollar donors.
The district, which spans parts of the Bronx and Queens, is heavily Democratic, so Ocasio-Cortez is all but guaranteed to be a new member of Congress in November.
That would make Ocasio-Cortez the youngest woman elected to Congress if she wins, and there seems to be no chance that she doesn't. And as far as her platform, well, you know what? An 80% Democratic district is exactly the kind of place we need to have a card-carrying Socialist.
I'm alright with that. More power to her.
As far as Crowley goes, yeah, he was definitely going for Nancy's job, but then again he was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong 20-year career under his belt. Crowley hadn't faced a primary challenge since 2004 and it showed. He got sloppy, skipped debates, and took his opponent for granted.
And he lost because of it.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think for a second that this is the Rise Of The Berniecrats, and the comparison to Dave Brat beating Eric Cantor is lazy at best. This was "all politics are local" 101 and Crowley flunked the test, and it cost him any shot he had at Nancy Pelosi's job.
The question is who will succeed Pelosi. Crowley was a smart pick, but the reality is if the Dems do take back the House, Pelosi may not have 218 votes.