Joseph Crowley, a 10-term Congressman and one of the best-known friends of India in the House of Representatives, has been defeated by a 28-year-old Latino candidate in the Democratic party’s key New York primary, in one of the shocking upsets in recent American political history.
Mr Crowley, 56, currently the powerful chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who was seen as a potential future House Speaker, was unseated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist who is almost half his age and was a volunteer in Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign.
“This is not an end, this is the beginning. This is the beginning because the message that we sent the world tonight is that it’s not OK to put donors before your community,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told her supporters.
“You have given this country hope, you have given this country proof that when you knock on your neighbour’s door, when you come to them with love, when you let them know that no matter your stance, you are there for them – that we can make change,” she said.
Mr Crowley congratulated Ms Ocasio-Cortez on her victory. The young Democrat had challenged Mr Crowley on the grounds that he had ties with special interests.
“It has been the honour of a lifetime to represent Queens and the Bronx. I am proud of the race we ran and, more importantly, proud of all of the work we’ve done to advance this community,” Mr Crowley said in a statement.
President Donald Trump also commented on Mr Crowley’s defeat to Ms Ocasio-Cortez, “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! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!” he said.
As co-chairperson of the House Indian Caucus, Mr Crowley was instrumental in starting Diwali celebrations at the US capitol. He also worked closely with the Indian-Americans to advance their cause, including advocating for including Sikhs in the US Army.
A strong advocate of India-US relationship, Mr Crowley was considered as one of the best friends of India in the House of Representatives.
“The Trump administration is a threat to everything we stand for here in Queens and the Bronx, and if we don’t win back the House this November, we will lose the nation we love. This is why we must come together,” said Mr Crowley after his defeat.
“We will only be able to stop Donald Trump and the Republican Congress by working together, as a united Democratic Party,” he said.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Mr Crowley had been an unwavering champion for America’s working families for almost two decades.
“To know Congressman Crowley is to know his fierce pride in representing Queens and the Bronx, and the joy and effectiveness he brought to serve as their voice in the Congress,” Ms Pelosi said.
“As Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Joe Crowley brought principled, unifying and forward-looking leadership to the historic challenges of the Trump Administration.
News credit : Ndtv