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."
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) June 15, 2018
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an example of what we claim we want — a voice for true equality and a champion for working people
— jeremy cabo (@jeremycabo) June 16, 2018
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."
#NY14 is in for the greatest gift imaginable: a radical young woman of color, a working class NYer, a torchbearer for the progressive movement, a kind person with zero ego and razor sharp wit, a champion for her district. Goodbye @repjoecrowley. The people choose @Ocasio2018. pic.twitter.com/jlSLbGZubP
— Simone Norman (@whysimonewhy) June 16, 2018
Clear difference btwn #NY14 candidates. @JoeCrowleyNY is a career politician who has long been out of touch w/the majority of the constituency while @Ocasio2018 is a public servant who’s heard from misrepresented & ready to fight w/their voices as her platform!#Ocasio2018 pic.twitter.com/LFx8KxaBuO
— Xavier Pérez (@DOUBTMYPROGRESS) June 15, 2018
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."
I think the main takeaway from this debate was the passion that @Ocasio2018 showed on every issue. You can tell she's experienced these problems first hand and deeply wants to fight for change.
Crowley seems to care much more about national issues than #NY14 ones.
— Parth Dave (@Parth_Dave) June 15, 2018
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.
Wow. @Ocasio2018 just destroyed @repjoecrowley in the #NY14 congressional debate. Multiple times she sent him to the ropes. The contrast between them couldn’t be more stark and Crowley seems scared. She’s fierce.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) June 15, 2018
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).
For those who have been following @Ocasio2018 campaign for #NY14, tonight's debate against @JoeCrowleyNY was a clear indication that she understands the corruption that has been hurting families for years. On 6/26 cast your vote for her and say loudly that #CrowleyMustGo https://t.co/l4TChImU00
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) June 16, 2018
Honestly @Ocasio2018 did an incredible job, and I don't think anyone not somehow in Joe's pocket is going to be convinced to vote for him after that.
— Queens DSA (@QueensDSA) June 16, 2018
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."
Honored to have to broken through to our first Queens Dem Club endorsement.
“Ocasio-Cortez is a better representative of our neighborhood. She’s more progressive. She’s not behind the banks, insurance companies and Wall Street,” said the club chairman.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) June 16, 2018
New Yorkers head to the polls for the statewide primary election on June 26.