Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at a kick-off event for their Green New Deal legislation on February 7, 2019.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at a kick-off event for their Green New Deal legislation on February 7, 2019. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Ocasio-Cortez Takes Aim at Crowley and Kennedy For Challenge to Green New Deal Co-Champion Ed Markey

 "Joe Kennedy thinks that with the backing of the establishment and the old guard of the Democratic Party that he can beat a progressive champion for justice. Let's show Kennedy that he's wrong."

Eoin Higgins

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday took aim at her former rival, Joe Crowley, in an email to supporters that presented the Democratic Senate primary in Massachusetts between incumbent Ed Markey and challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy III as an unlikely battle between their party's progressive and establishment wings. 

"It's not about primaries for the sake of primaries. It's about the *policy.*"
—Emma Vigeland, The Young Turks

"While Ed Markey is fighting for the Green New Deal in the Senate, Joe Kennedy is getting campaign support from Crowley hosting a high-dollar fundraiser on October 15th," Ocasio-Cortez's team wrote in an appeal for donations that would be split between her and Markey.

"Joe Kennedy thinks that with the backing of the establishment and the old guard of the Democratic Party that he can beat a progressive champion for justice," Ocasio-Cortez added. "Let's show Kennedy that he's wrong." 

Crowley, the New York Democrat who lost a primary election to Ocasio-Cortez in 2018, is listed as a "host" for an October 15 fundraiser for Kennedy hosted by lobbyist Tracey Spicer.

The event, according to reporting from The Boston Globe, asks attendees from different tiers to donate to the the Kennedy effort to depose Markey:

According to the invitation, hosts for the fund-raiser are asked to give $5,600 to Kennedy's campaign—the maximum amount an individual can give for the primary and general election, combined. The invitation asks "co-hosts" to pony up $2,800, "supporters" to give $1,000; and "friends" to contribute $500.

The timing of Crowley's insertion into the race comes weeks after Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Markey, her Senate co-sponsor for the Green New Deal. 

A Kennedy campaign official, speaking on background, told Common Dreams that Crowley and Kennedy's friendship is longstanding and that Crowley's presence in the race has nothing to do with Ocasio-Cortez.

"They are genuinely close friends and have been for a long time," said the campaign official.

As Sludge pointed out on October 4, Crowley's post-Congress career has set him up nicely to raise cash and wield influence:

Crowley is not just the guy whom AOC beat; he is now senior policy advisor at Squire Patton Boggs, a powerful D.C. lobbying firm that represents large corporations such as oil company Royal Dutch Shell, Management and Training Corp.—the third largest private prison company in the U.S.—and insurer UnitedHealth Group.

The juxtaposition of Ocasio-Cortez, the political upstart whose primary challenge upset the national political order, endorsing the incumbent Markey with her establishment opponent backing Kennedy, who is running on a message of change, was not lost on Boston-based political activist Jonathan Cohn. 

"Some pundits have drawn comparisons to Ayanna Pressley's challenge to Mike Capuano last year, with Kennedy invoking rhetoric akin to Pressley's 'Change can't wait,'" said Cohn. "But the dynamics of the race are very different."

The Globe's reporting appears to bear out that perception of the race's dynamics.

The paper gave a rundown of a who's who expected at the October 15 fundraiser:

Former (Ted) Kennedy staffers listed on the invitation include Stephanie Cutter, who went on to serve in the Obama administration and as deputy campaign manager for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, among other roles; David Bowen, who served as staff director for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions when the elder Kennedy was its chairman, and played a major role in drafting and steering the Affordable Care Act through the Senate; and Tom Lopach, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee who is currently working on Montana Governor Steve Bullock's presidential campaign.

In her email to supporters, Ocasio-Cortez said that the stakes for the Massachusetts primary are clear.

"We need to help keep Markey in the Senate where he has a proven record of fighting for transformative change," said Ocasio-Cortez.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Top US Nurses Union Urges Senators to Suspend Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"Reproductive health services," says National Nurses United, are "fundamental to ensuring economic justice for women across the country."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Grave Injustice': Judge Rules Against West Virginia Community Devastated by Opioids

Three pharmaceutical companies distributed 81 million opioid painkillers in a West Virginia county over an eight-year period, but the federal judge ruled they were not liable for the damage done by the opioid epidemic.

Julia Conley ·


Nearly Two Dozen GOP States Attempting to Use Covid Relief Funds for Tax Cuts

Numerous Republican states, having benefited from federal coronavirus aid funds, are "pushing for income tax cuts that would deliver outsized gains to wealthy residents and profitable corporations."

Jake Johnson ·


'Congress Must Do More NOW,' Sanders Says After Mass Shooting at July 4th Parade

"Today's terrible shooting in Highland Park is the latest reminder of our nation's deadly gun violence epidemic," the Vermont senator said. "Grocery stores. Schools. Churches. Fourth of July parades."

Jake Johnson ·


'Bloodbath': At Least 6 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Mass Shooting at Illinois July 4th Parade

"What freedom do we have if we fear being gunned down at a parade?" asked one progressive politician horrified by the reported carnage.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo