Gov. Cuomo’s Re-election Campaign
Crowley’s defeat might suggest that the governor’s support network is not as solid as previously thought. Crowley enjoyed the support of the same top-ranking Democrats who are now lining up to back Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his September Democratic primary race against actress Cynthia Nixon. On Monday, Nixon and Ocasio-Cortez exchanged endorsements of each other. “Together, it is my hope that Cynthia and I can propose the notion that New York’s elections don’t have to be foregone conclusions—they can be earned opportunities for change,” Ocasio-Cortez said. Nixon added, “Alexandria and I are joining together to take on the old-boys club.”
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Agenda
In January, Crowley helped engineer the election of Councilman Corey Johnson to City Council speaker. Johnson must now push his agenda through the City Council without the support of a powerful ally in Crowley, who had the power to mobilize the Queens Democratic establishment.
The Future of the Queens Democratic Committee
Crowley has served as the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party since 2006. It’s conceivable that he would stay on as chairman after he steps down from his congressional post in January. Nevertheless, his defeat marks a significant blow to the cohesiveness of the Queens Democratic machine and calls into question the future orientation of Democratic politics in the borough. “For too long, New York machine politics have drifted away from the communities they were originally supposed to serve,” Ocasio-Cortez said at an event on Monday.
Incumbents Rethinking Approach
Ocasio-Cortez’s victory shows that challengers on the left might actually prove viable competitors in Democratic primaries. Crowley, who has been in office since 1999, has never faced a serious challenger, and it was widely thought that he never would. “A low-turnout primary is actually an incredible opportunity for a grassroots organizer,” Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday on Morning Joe, “because when only 3 percent of your electorate turns out, you really just need to inspire a couple thousand people and it can totally change the game.”
Women Candidates Emboldened
A record number of women have stepped up for U.S. House and Senate races this year. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory underscores this trend and points to the notion that voters may be eager to put women in elected office. Of the 61 women who competed in congressional primaries on June 26, 32 advanced. Out of the 516 women who have declared their candidacies for House and Senate races across the nation, 169 have advanced and 172 have not yet faced off with opponents. Cynthia Nixon pointed to this wave of women when summing up her and Ocasio-Cortez’s candidacies. “Like thousands of other women across the country who are running for office for the first time this year, we looked at who is in charge and the job they were doing and realized that if we want things to finally change, we’re going to have to step up and do it ourselves,” Nixon said.