Nearly a month after the shocking defeat of U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) by Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the win continues to make waves as Crowley’s name remains on the ballot on the Working Families Party line for the November general election.
Ocasio-Cortez won handily in the primary on June 23 and Crowley unequivocally stated that night that he would support her campaign.
Yet, he is still on the ballot, but not campaigning.
On July 12, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted a New York Times article about the complications of third-party lines and wrote, “@repjoecrowley stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy. Instead, he’s stood me up for all three scheduled concession calls. Now, he’s mounting a third party challenge against me and the Democratic Party—and against the will of @NYWFP.”
That same day, Crowley tweeted in response, “Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together. I’ve made my support for you clear and the fact that I’m not running. We’ve scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I’d like to connect, but I’m not willing to air grievances on Twitter.”
Hours later, Crowley reiterated, “Lots questions about WFP line. Was honored to have their support. I’m not running. For [the] record, you can only be removed from the ballot if 1) you move out of NY; 2) die; 3) be convicted of a crime; 4) accept a nomination for another office (in a place I don’t live).”
Later that same day, he tweeted about the situations that could result in his removal from the Working Families Party ballot: “I don’t plan on moving out of New York, have a clean record, hope God’s will is that I don’t die, and won’t commit what I honestly believe to be election fraud.”
After the tense Twitter spat last week between Ocasio-Cortez, a Crowley campaign spokeswoman said, “Our teams are in touch and will be working together on behalf of the families for NY-14.”
Jerry Goldfeder, an election lawyer with Strook & Strook & Lavan LLP in Manhattan, said that Crowley had done enough to show Ocasio-Cortez support.
“He’s made it very clear that he supports her candidacy, so why continue the speculation?”
He recalled that, in 2002, Andrew Cuomo was in the Democratic primary for governor, dropped out, and then supported Carl McCall as the Democratic nominee—and yet Cuomo remained on the Liberal party line.
“He did not engage in any charade and stayed on the ballot,” Goldfeder said. “That’s what Crowley is doing, he’s supporting Ocasio.”
He added that such situations happen with some frequency.
“It’s gonna happen when [gubernatorial candidate Cynthia] Nixon loses the Democratic primary,” he said. “She’s on the Working Families Party line. She’s going to have make a choice as to whether to get off or stay on.”
On July 17, former U.S Sen. Joe Lieberman wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that supporters of Israel should vote for Crowley on the Working Families Party line. He attacked Ocasio-Cortez’s platform, stating that it would “bankrupt the country” and said that he believes her foreign policies reflect those of the Democratic Socialists of America, including “reflexive criticism” of Israel as well as supporting socialist governments, even if they’re “dictatorial and corrupt.”
A Crowley campaign spokeswoman stated that in a highly Democratic district, it is unlikely that Crowley would win on the Working Families Party line. She also said, “Joe Lieberman has every right to his opinion. Joe still isn’t running.”
On Wednesday, Crowley tweeted, “Still not running.”