'Born To Run'

Political novice, 28, topples 10-term Congressman in her very first run for public office

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Facebook)

A woman with no political experience apart from working as an organizer on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign upended the political landscape in New York on Tuesday night with an unexpected victory over a 10-term Congressman. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina from the Bronx, pulled off what virtually no one expected. She ousted Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in the Democratic primary for the 14th Congressional District, which covers and area of the Bronx and Queens in New York City. Crowley, 56, hadn’t been challenged by a Democratic opponent in 14 years.

Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, not only defeated Crowley — she did it handily, winning 57 percent of the vote, according to The New York Times. She ran on a platform that had three primary agendas: abolishing thee Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, better known as ICE; universal health care and a guarantee of federal jobs for anyone who is unemployed.

The political newcomer seemed just as shell shocked by the outcome as the rest of the political establishment she’d just dealt a jolt to as she learned of the results on live TV. “Oh my God!” she screamed, covering her agape mouth in disbelief, as she saw the results on television while a local reporter stood by her side and a news camera was trained directly on her. “I cannot put this into words,” she said, her eyes widening. “I cannot believe these numbers right now.” As for pulling off such a dramatic upset, given Crowley’s huge campaign war chest and other advantages, Ocasio-Cortez put it this way: “We meet a machine with a movement.”

Ocasio-Cortez was born to a father from the Bronx and a mother from Puerto Rico. As recently as last November, she was still working as a bartender. If there ever was an insurgent candidacy, it was the one run by Ocasio-Cortez, who took the fight directly at her opponent. At one point she blasted him for being a white man in his 50s who is out of touch with the concerns of his ethnically-diverse constituency. She also criticized him for sending his children to school in Washington, D.C., instead of in New York City and declared that if she lost in the primary to him, she still wouldn’t endorse him.

Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is joined by New York gubenatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon at her victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

The upstart 28-year-old was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and by Cynthia Nixon, the actress-turned-candidate who is mounting a progressive insurgent bid for New York governor.

She will face Anthony Pappas, the Republican candidate, in the November general election and if she wins, will become the youngest person ever elected to U.S. Congress. New York’s 14th district is heavily Democratic. Despite the bitter nature of the campaign, Crowley, who recently had been viewed as a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader, took the victory in stride at his Tuesday evening campaign event, where he played guitar with his band and dedicated a number to Ocasio-Cortez. The song, appropriately: Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run.”

Read the full story at The New York Times and Politico.

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