Young Democratic socialist defeats powerful Democrat in New York primary |

Young Democratic socialist defeats powerful Democrat in New York primary

Wesley Venteicher
Democratic Socialists of America candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, defeated Democratic incumbent Joseph Crowley in a New York primary Tuesday.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old political newcomer, defeated the fourth-most-powerful Democrat in the U.S. House in a primary election Tuesday in New York, delivering another victory for the Democratic Socialists of America.

Ocasio-Cortez’s victory followed those of Pittsburgh DSA candidates Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato against incumbents Paul and Dom Costa in May.

The two congratulated Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter, calling the victory a win for justice and the working class.

Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term Rep. Joseph Crowley, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, in New York’s 14th Congressional District, according to unofficial results.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on Medicare For All, guaranteed government jobs, tuition-free college, criminal justice reform, fighting climate change and abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

When a TV reporter asked her after her victory to respond to criticisms that her agenda is too radical, she replied, “I think what we’ve seen is that working-class Americans want a clear champion, and that there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.”

In an interview with Splinter News before the election, she said she thinks progressive candidates should push the Democratic Party leftward in districts that are safe for Democrats. She suggested incumbents around the country are not as unbeatable as many people think.

“I do think that this could potentially be part of a much larger shift in New York politics — and also national politics — that some of these unassailable figures may not be as grassroots-supported as we like to think they are,” she told the publication.

Crowley congratulated Ocasio-Cortez on her victory. He dedicated a performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” to her at his election-night gathering, playing guitar and singing.

“Ocasio-Cortez was able to defeat a powerful establishment Democrat who has been in Congress since 1999,” DSA National Political Committee member Christian Bowe said in a news release. “The people of NY-14 demanded more from its representative than empty promises and deep pockets. We’re proud of this victory, and we know this is only one of many more to come.”

Since the victories of Innamorato and Lee, DSA candidate Jovanka Beckles also won a primary election in California. In 2017, 21 of 32 candidates the DSA endorsed around the country won elections, according to the group, whose membership has exploded since Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ presidential run.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, [email protected] or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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