A 28-year-old first-time progressive candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, scoring one of the year’s biggest political upsets.
Crowley, who was a member of the Democratic leadership and was considered a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi, has been in the House since 1999, and has represented the 14th district since 2013. He was the chair of the House Democratic Caucus since 2017.
Ocasio-Cortez‘s victory was quickly compared to 2014 primary upset in which Dave Brat ousted Eric Cantor, then the No. 2 Republican in the House, from his Virginia district seat.
NY1 captured Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction as she realized she was winning the race.
“We meet a machine with a movement. That is what we have done today.” @Ocasio2018 looks up at @NY1 screen and realizes how big her lead is. #NY14 pic.twitter.com/SFSLQPqTXP
— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) June 27, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez ran a campaign that emphasized her working class roots and portrayed Crowley as out of touch with the district, which includes Queens and the Bronx. She was endorsed by Bernie Sanders’ group Our Revolution. She was an organizer in his presidential campaign.
Crowley had a campaign war chest that was 10 times that of Ocasio-Cortez, and his defeat will likely have an impact well beyond her district. It’s likely to highlight generational and ideological divides in other races, including the race for governor. Andrew Cuomo is facing a primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, who is running as a more progressive alternative.
“This is a victory for the people over the powerful, for the grassroots over the establishment, for progressive Democrats over corporate Democrats,” Nixon said in a statement. “This is what happens when you give people a choice. They show up and they reject the status quo.”
New York’s gubernatorial primary is in September.
Crowley wrote on Twitter, “I want to congratulate
@Ocasio2018. I look forward to supporting her and all Democrats this November. 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.”
At his primary night party, he played guitar and dedicated a song to her, “Born to Run.”
If Ocasio-Cortez wins in November, she will be the youngest member of the House.
In other primary races, Dan Donovan soundly defeated Michael Grimm in the Republican primary for a Staten Island congressional seat. Grimm was seeking a political comeback, having served time in prison for tax evasion.
In Utah, Mitt Romney won his primary race in his effort to win a Senate seat in Utah. He’s now the favorite to win in November, and he would succeed Orrin Hatch, who is retiring.
Ben Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican incumbent Larry Hogan for governor of Maryland.