Joe Crowley, Pelosi's Top Challenger for Dem Leadership, Is Defeated by Socialist in Primary

Rep. Joe Crowley / Getty Images
June 27, 2018

Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) was defeated in Tuesday's Democratic primary for New York's 14th Congressional District by Bronx native and Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Fewer than 30,000 voters went to the polls in a little-noticed primary, which Ocasio-Cortez won by 15 percentage points despite Crowley's clout in New York City politics. Crowley is the chair of the House Democratic Caucus and has been quietly campaigning to become the next House Democratic House leader should Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) lose her base of support.

Ocasio-Cortez is running on a platform of a federal jobs guarantee, a single-payer Medicare-for-all plan, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The young socialist is not just progressive on domestic issues. Ocasio-Cortez blamed Israel for the "massacre" of dozens of Palestinians in May, and said, "Democrats can't be silent about this anymore."

While her campaign has attracted national attention from major progressive groups, it was a heavy grassroots effort where the candidate herself went door to door.

"What I see is that the Democratic Party takes working class communities for granted, they take people of color for granted and they just assume that we’re going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping these proposals are," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview.

Crowley's defeat is being called the biggest Democratic Party upset of the year. Politico's Jake Sherman tweeted, "To say a Crowley loss would be seismic in the Capitol would be like calling New York a small town on the Hudson."

President Donald Trump tweeted his surprise too and said that Crowley should have been "nicer, and more respectful, to his President."

The district, which includes the eastern Bronx and part of northern Queens, is heavily Democratic, meaning Ocasio-Cortez is expected to see victory in the November election.