Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old who shocked the Democratic establishment with her June primary win, is officially on her way to Congress after winning New York’s 14th District.
Ocasio-Cortez all but sealed her seat with an upset over Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranked Democrat in the House and a 10-term incumbent. Ocasio-Cortez won the district, which encompasses parts of Queens and the Bronx, by 15 points while running on a progressive platform that included Medicare for all and the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). The victory was followed a whirlwind summer of media appearances, from late-night comedy shows to Sunday-morning staples, discussing her socialist platform and campaigning for other progressive candidates.
This was Ocasio-Cortez’s first race, but she had previously been involved with politics, serving as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign and interning for Sen. Ted Kennedy while she was enrolled at Boston University. She was the first challenger for Crowley’s seat since 2004 and won despite being heavily outspent. Her general election opponent, Anthony Pappas, was a long-shot candidate who lost the support of local Republican groups late last month after he admitted his wife had accused him of domestic violence and had taken out a restraining order.
The newly minted congresswoman spent her morning getting out the vote on the local New York radio’s Hot 97 morning show and taking over Cosmopolitan magazine’s Instagram feed. She will become not just the youngest member of this Congress but the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, a leftist group that has grown in size since the 2016 election. She will not be the only DSA member in the 116th Congress; she will be joined by Rashida Tlaib from Michigan’s 13th District. Tlaib, who won a crowded primary for Rep. John Conyers’s Detroit-area seat with a platform similar to Ocasio-Cortez’s — a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all, and a refusal to take corporate PAC donations — will join newly elected Ilhan Omar of Minnesota as the first two Muslim women in Congress.
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