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Progressive primary challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez debated Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) on June 15, 2018. (Photo Xavier Pérez/Twitter)

Praise for Progressive 'Torchbearer' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Takedown of 'Career Politician' Joe Crowley

"The contrast between them couldn't be more stark and Crowley seems scared. She's fierce."

Jessica Corbett

Progressives praised U.S. House primary candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—"a torchbearer for the progressive movement"—for her performance Friday night in a debate against Rep. Joe Crowley, a powerful player in the Democratic Party's establishment and longtime representative of New York's 14th District.

"Not all Democrats are the same, and I am proud to be the only Democrat in this race that rejects all corporate money, and champions and advances improved and expanded Medicare for All, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college, and the abolition of ICE," she said in her opening remarks. "In a district that is 85 percent Democrat, overwhelmingly working class, and 70 percent people of color, we deserve a working-class champion."

Supporters turned to social media to celebrate Ocasio-Cortez as "a champion for her district" and condemn Crowley—chair of the House Democratic Caucus—as "a career politician who has long been out of touch [with] the majority of the constituency."

Those who tuned in to the debate, which was aired locally on television, commented on the "passion that [Ocasio-Cortez] showed on every issue," concluding, "You can tell she's experienced these problems first hand and deeply wants to fight for change."

Journalist Jeremy Scahill—who recently interviewed Ocasio-Cortez on his podcast Intercepted—remarked: "The contrast between them couldn't be more stark and Crowley seems scared. She's fierce." Ocasio-Cortez is the first primary challenger the congressman has faced in 14 years.

Ocasio-Cortez is campaigning on a long list of progressives stances, including: mobilizing against climate change, improving the federal government's failed response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, advancing LGBTQIA+ and women's rights, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency that has been widely denounced for terrorizing immigrant communities and separating asylum-seeking families at the nation's Southern border.

The New York district's primary race has garnered national attention as Ocasio-Cortez has picked up endorsements from groups such as the Justice Democrats, Our Revolution, and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

The activist-turned-candidate is also winning over New York City-based groups. Late Friday, she picked up an endorsement from a Democratic club in Queens—which is quite a feat, considering that her opponent's nickname is reportedly "the King of Queens."

"Ocasio-Cortez is a better representative of our neighborhood," William Salgado, chairman of the Pan-American Democratic Association, told the New York Post. "She's more progressive. She's not behind the banks, insurance companies, and Wall Street."

New Yorkers head to the polls for the statewide primary election on June 26.

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