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News / City Life

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is what a New York come-up looks like

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Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old, Bronx-born Latina and Democratic Socialist, had the ultimate New York come-up Tuesday night when she beat 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley in a huge primary election upset. Crowley, who went unchallenged as representative of New York's 14th district for 14 years, is the fourth most-powerful sitting Congressman and raised 10 times more funds than Ocasio-Cortez, who largely ran a grassroots campaign, according to CNN. Is your jaw dropping too?

"This is not an end, this is the beginning," Ocasio-Cortez told reporters at her victory party at Park Billiards in the Bronx last night. "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. 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."

Crowley was apparently so unflustered by Ocasio-Cortez' status as a legitimate challenger that he didn't show up to a Bronx debate against her (he cited scheduling issues), sending former city councilwoman Annabel Palma in his place. Now Ocasio-Cortez, who just a year ago was working as a bartender (in fact, could this be a picture of her on Flats Fix's website?) has taken the first step toward moving to Washington D.C. (See the full election results here.)

She will face Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in November's election, and if she wins in the predominantly Democractic district, she would become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, the New York Times reports.

Ocasio-Cortez ran on a highly liberal platform, advocating for better childhood education and calling to abolish ICE. Just last week, she joined protests at an ICE detention center in Texas. She has never held public office, has student loans, and said "Women like me aren't supposed to run for office," in a viral campaign video. She raised $300,709, mostly from single donors in $200 increments.
Crowley himself sent congratulations to Ocasio-Cortez, even picking up his guitar to play Springsteen's "Born to Run" as tribute. 

"I want to congratulate Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on her victory tonight," he said in a statement. "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."

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