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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Beat Joe Crowley In the Primary, But He’ll Get to Be on the November Ballot Anyway

Someone please explain this BS.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Working Families Party, joe crowley, primary, election,

Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–a 28-year-old community organizer who’s never held public office–beat her opponent, 20-year incumbent Joe Crowley, in the Democratic Congressional primary for New York’s 14th District seat. She did so by running on an ultra-progressive platform of human and civil rights, and by engaging potential voters often ignored by mainstream politics. She’s so popular with voters that she won as a write-in third-party candidate in another primary in another district, where she wasn’t even running. (She immediately and graciously declined that nomination.)

And yet Ocasio-Cortez won’t be the only Democrat on that 14th District ballot in November. Through a weird loophole meant to favor third-party candidates, Crowley will remain on the ballot. As the New York Times explains, if a major-party candidate earns the endorsement of a third-party group–labor union and activism groups like the Women’s Equality Party or the Working Families Party–but they fail to win the major-party primary, they can run as a member of that other group, if they so choose. Crowley did earn the endorsement of the Working Families Party, but here’s the messed up part: immediately following his loss in the primary, the group asked him to vacate the line. And he refused.

The process of removing Crowley’s name from the third-party line is a bit convoluted and requires moving him over to another position on the ballot, basically with the intent of burying him in a position he’s not likely to or interested in winning. Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, said he reached out to Crowley immediately to get that process moving. He says Crowley declined. “You’d think that given the moment we’re in,” Lipton told the NYT, “that Democratic leaders would want to help progressive forces to unite.”

Crowley, for his part, responded with some condescending shaming, saying “Democrats need to come together” (then do that) and claiming he’s not running (but he says he won’t leave the ballot).

The Working Families Party has issued an incredibly fiery response:

“It is disappointing that Crowley has refused to vacate the Working Families Party ballot line. He chose not to show Ocasio-Cortez and the WFP respect by allowing us to put Ocasio-Cortez on our ballot line. WFP is giving all we have to electing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive insurgents all across the nation. The only remaining way for Crowley to do the right thing is to switch his residency to Virginia, where his family resides and his children already go to school. It would fix the problem he created in an instant.

“Queens County Democrats practically wrote the book on election law so it’s hard to imagine they don’t know that there are standard procedures to remove a candidate from the ballot that have been approved by the New York State Court of Appeals.”

Ocasio-Cortez is also not taking Crowley’s bullshit lying down. She beat him once, and she aims to do it again, no matter how well-connected and well-funded he is.

(image: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.