A 28-year-old latina shook the political world on Tuesday night when she upset the powerful Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic congressional primary.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won big by ousting Crowley, the House Democrat from New York’s deep-blue 14th Congressional District, who was seen as a potential leader of the House Democrats if they won the majority in November. He is the current chair of the house democratic caucus.
Ocasio-Cortez’s win was so unexpected that much of the media scrambled to find out more information about her once her win was called. According to CNN, this was the first time in 14 years a member of his own party has attempted to unseat Crowley — a fact that many felt that he might have taken for granted when it was time to campaign.
Instead, his eyes were focused on potentially challenging Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for House speaker if Democrats were to take a House majority in November’s midterm elections.
“This is not an end, this is the beginning. This is the beginning because the message that we sent the world tonight is that it’s not OK to put donors before your community,” Ocasio-Cortez told supporters on Tuesday night.
According to NPR, Ocasio-Cortez was an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and a one-time staffer for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. In representing the immigrant-heavy 14th Congressional district, which includes the Bronx and Queens, she wants to create a “political revolution.” That includes putting an end to private prisons and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
“What we’re basically saying is that the structure of ICE — in a similar manner as the structure of the Patriot Act — is kind of built on a scaffolding of questionable civil liberties infringement and abuse,” she said. “So what we’re really talking about is re-imagining immigration to be humane, and in a way that is transparent and accountable.”
As she faced her supporters, Ocasio-Cortez positioned her win as a triumph over the “deep midnight and darkness” of the political moment, CNN reports.
“You have given this country hope, you have given this country proof that when you knock on your neighbor’s door, when you come to them with love, when you let them know that no matter your stance, you are there for them — that we can make change,” she said.
She is expected to win the blue district easily in November. She will face Republican Anthony Pappas.