House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., suffered a stunning defeat Tuesday night by losing the New York Democratic primary to challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
June 26 (UPI) -- New York Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranking member of the House Democrats, was defeated in Tuesday's primary by 28-year-old Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Crowley, 56, hadn't lost a primary in 14 years in his district, which encompasses the Bronx and Queens, and was widely considered a candidate to succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House Minority leader. But those plans were stopped by Ocasio-Cortez, who was powered by an upstart campaign based on being more progressive and more attuned to working-class needs.
Crowley was expected to win the primary over Ocasio-Cortez, a former presidential campaign staffer for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and had the backing of the Democratic Party establishment.
Ocasio-Cortez won nearly 58 percent of the vote, compared to Crowley's 42 percent.
"Almost two years ago, I started what was then a completely 'impossible' bid for Congress. Since then, everything has changed," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter shortly before the race was called in her favor.
President Donald Trump blasted Crowley, a fellow Queens native who has been a harsh critic.
"Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi's place, just LOST his primary election. In other words, he's out!" Trump tweeted. "That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!"
Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican Anthony Pappas and Conservative Party candidate Elizabeth Perri in November. Democratic candidates in Crowley's 14th District are usually heavy favorites to win.
If Ocasio-Cortez wins in November, she will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The U.S. Constitution requires House candidates to be at least 25.
In Maryland, former NAACP President Ben Jealous won the Democratic primary for governor. Jealous, who like Ocasio worked on Sanders' campaign, defeated a crowded field of Democratic challengers, including attorney Rushern Baker, by capturing 40 percent of the vote.
Jealous will face incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November.
In Colorado, the seat for governor is open and Democratic Rep. Jared Polis will represent the party in November against Republican winner Walker Stapleton.
Both candidates easily won their primary races, with Polis taking 45 percent support among Democrats and Stapleton taking 49 percent of the GOP tally.
Oklahoma's governor seat is also open, with many Republicans facing off to replace GOP Gov. Mary Fallin. Mick Cornett squeaked out a victory with 29 percent of the vote, beating Kevin Sitt and Todd Lamb, who each won 24 percent.
Cornett will face Democrat Drew Edmondson, who easily won his primary with 62 percent.
Former Republican presidential nominee and Senate hopeful Mitt Romney easily won his party's primary in Utah Tuesday with 73 percent of the vote. The former Massachusetts governor will face Democrat Jenny Wilson in November for the seat now held by the retiring Orrin Hatch.
South Carolina concluded its runoffs on Tuesday, with incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster beating challenger John Warren. In Mississippi, David Beria beat Howard Sherman in a race to represent the Democrats in November against incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker.