While Democratic Congressional candidates in key battleground districts struggled to defeat a host of surprisingly resilient Republican incumbents, self-described “Democratic socialist” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cruised to victory in New York’s 14th Congressional district, which straddles parts of the Bronx and Queens, becoming – at the tender age of 29 – the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
According to CNN, after turning 29 last month, AOC (as she is widely known) has surpassed New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, who was elected to Congress at age 30, and was the previous holder of that distinction.
Prior to becoming involved in politics, the “girl from the Bronx” (who spent most of her childhood in a comfortable home in suburban Westchester County) and daughter of Puerto Rican parents had been working as a bartender and Bernie Sanders organizer in NYC after graduating from Boston University when she was plucked from obscurity by progressive groups like “Our Revolution.” During her primary race against 10-term incumbent, Queens Democratic Party leader Joe Crowley, a member of the Democratic leadership in the House, AOC won by a double-digit margin in what will be remembered as one of the biggest upsets for the Democratic establishment in recent memory.
AOC, who was championed by the Democratic Socialists of America, an insurgent socialist organization, will now bring her inchoate policy agenda, which includes a “jobs guarantee”, free college tuition, medicare for all, abolishing ICE and “housing as a human right”, to Washington, where she will no doubt find a niche on the far-left of an increasingly progressive Democratic Party.
Though AOC took home nearly 80% of the votes in her heavily Democratic district, Crowley, her former primary rival, still emerged with 6.6% of the vote, despite declining to campaign, after he refused to petition for his name to be removed from the Working Families Party.
Watch her victory speech: