When a young bartender and Sen. Bernie Sanders activist named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat longtime Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley in the NY-14 primary, it was one of the most surprising defeats of the 2018 election season. Per the New York Times, it was also “the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade.”
Crowley didn’t take the defeat too well. Not long after after he played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” for her on his guitar the night he lost, he and the soon-to-be freshman Congresswoman battled on the Twitter machine after reports surfaced that Crowley was mounting a third-party challenge:
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. https://t.co/hxEeWEpI2O
— Joe Crowley (@JoeCrowleyforNY) July 12, 2018
As CNN reported at the time, those reports turned out to be true:
As part of an endorsement that came before the primary, Crowley will be on the Working Families Party’s ticket in November. Bill Lipton, the WFP’s state director, confirmed that Crowley has, as first reported in the New York Times, refused to go forward with the process that would see his name removed from the 14th Congressional District ballot.
After Crowley responded publicly, calling the necessary maneuver to remove his name from the WFP line a form of “election fraud,” his spokesperson also accused Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old first-time candidate, of misleading voters about the nature of her concerns.
But had Crowley viewed her as more of a threat during the primaries, could he have defeated Ocasio-Cortez? A new book out today reveals that his campaign says they had dirt on her … but didn’t use it:
“Crowley had plenty of fodder he could’ve used against Ocasio-Cortez, but his top New York campaign operatives decided to take the punches and not hit back,” Politico reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer write in their new book, “The Hill to Die On.”
“It wasn’t just that Crowley didn’t want to go dirty; he thought it would be a sign of weakness in D.C. if he was seen in a tight race against Ocasio-Cortez. He was supposed to be the next Democratic leader, not someone who had to fight for reelection,” the two write.
As to the dirt the book’s authors were told Crowley had on her:
One piece of dirt Crowley decided against using was questionable financing practices of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign — which a source said Crowley aides knew about before they became public this year.
The conservative National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last month charging that Ocasio-Cortez’s team used two affiliated political action committees to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into a limited-liability company to evade campaign finance laws.
Read more about that complaint to the FEC here.
Would Crowley using this against her in the primary even have made a difference?
Assuming AOC makes it beyond the primary the next go round, she already has a declared GOP long-shot challenger: Ruth Papazian, who runs the “Bronx Bolshevik Bulletin” Facebook group.
Crowley went on to be a K Street lobbyist.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–