11 Facts About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez That Show The True Power Of Her Primary Win
A 28-year-old Democratic socialist from New York shook up establishment politics on Tuesday when she beat an incumbent who's served in Congress since 1999. Although the millennial candidate has already made a name for herself, she still needs to clench one more victory come November. But before her name appears on another ballot, there are some facts you should know about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in order to fully understand what she stands for — and what Tuesday's victory means for establishment Democrats.
Born and bred in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez ran a campaign that attracted both local and national support. She ultimately ousted Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who many Democrats viewed as the natural successor to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The race now comes down to her and Republican candidate Anthony Pappas, an economics and finance professor at St. John’s University.
Ocasio-Cortez celebrated her primary win on Twitter by thanking Crowley for his service representing New York's 14th congressional district. After his loss, Crowley announced that he would fully support Ocasio-Cortez and all Democrats in the midterm elections.
"This is the start of a movement," she tweeted, thanking her supporters for carrying her to victory. "I look forward to working towards a takeback of the House on a strong platform of economic, social, and racial justice for working class New Yorkers & Americans."
She's On Her Way To Becoming The Youngest Congresswoman
If she beats her Republican opponent in November, the 28-year-old will become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) currently holds that title after assuming office at the age of 30 back in 2015. Ocasio-Cortez's New York district runs pretty blue, so she has a good chance of winning.
Her Campaign Video Didn't Hold Back
"Women like me aren't supposed to run for office," she says in her campaign video. "I wasn't born to a wealthy or powerful family."
Her Campaign Isn't Taking Corporate Money
Ocasio-Cortez vowed not to take money from corporate political action committees (PACs) while running for office and criticized her Democratic opponent for doing so. She won despite the fact that Crowley raised roughly $3 million more than her.
She Previously Worked For Sen. Ted Kennedy
While working toward a degree in economics and international relations at Boston University, she worked in the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) office. She primarily focused on foreign affairs and immigration casework, according to her website.
She Worked On Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential Campaign, Too
As a proud Democratic socialist, Ocasio-Cortez worked as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) 2016 bid for the White House.
Less Than A Year Ago, She Was Bartending And Serving Tables
Campaigning doesn't pay. So while Ocasio-Cortez was trying to build up her congressional campaign, she was also waiting tables and bartending.
She Visited Immigrant Detention Centers In Texas...
The congressional candidate traveled to Tornillo, Texas last weekend to protest the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents once they cross the border.
And Wants To Abolish ICE
Even before reports of child separation at the border, Ocasio-Cortez called for the U.S. to get rid of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
"ICE is a criminal justice issue. After a long history of sexual assault and uninvestigated ICE custody deaths, it’s time to reset course," she tweeted in March.
She Also Advocates For Single-Payer Health Care
Championing Medicare for All was a major tenant of her campaign. As she put it on her website:
"Extending single payer to the American public has rippling positive effects: people will take less time off work, have more money in their pocket, and other issues — like mass incarceration, homelessness, and more — will also be alleviated with an increase in the number of people getting the mental and physical healthcare they need."
She Hasn't Forgotten About Puerto Rico
Ocasio-Cortez's mother is Puerto Rican, and she continues to call for the federal government to do more to help the island rebuild after Hurricane Maria. She wants the U.S. to adopt a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico that would allow it to "not only recover from Hurricane Maria, but thrive with modern infrastructure and renewable energy systems," her website says.
Lots Of Celebrities Endorsed Her Campaign
She received numerous celebrity endorsements ahead of Tuesday's primary, including New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, actress Mara Wilson, and the show Broad City.
The nation's eyes are now on Ocasio-Cortez as she attempts to carry this momentum to Congress.