On Tuesday night, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Democrat Joe Crowley in the party’s congressional New York primary. Sweeping up 57.5 percent of votes in New York’s 14th District, which includes the Bronx and Queens, Ocasio-Cortez is quickly becoming a household name.
Her victory was a huge surprise to those who assumed the first-timer wouldn’t beat the 10-term incumbent. “I cannot put this into words,” she told Spectrum News NY1. “I cannot believe these numbers right now, but I do know that every single person here has worked their butt off to change the future of the Bronx and Queens.”
As she continues to climb her way to making history, here are a few things to know about the passionate first-time politician.
She’s a Proud Latina from the Bronx.
Ocasio-Cortez grew up in New York’s 14th district, and in that she takes great pride.
“Mi mamá limpiaba casas, my dad had a little small business that struggled the majority of the time with me growing up,” she told Remezcla. “I, myself, when my family was struggling to make ends meet, I had a day job and I waitressed and I bartend, and I was shoulder-to-shoulder with undocumented people in the back of house.”
“I get knocked a lot about talking about this point,” she also stated. “They’re like: ‘Why are you talking about being Latina? This is identity politics.’ There’s a difference between saying, ‘Vote for me I’m Latina’ and saying ‘Latinos deserve representation and a seat at the table.’ And that is profoundly important in a city that is 56 percent people of color, in a district that is 70 percent people of color.”
She Ran a Grassroots Campaign with No Corporate Donors.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as Jezebel notes, she raised over $300,000 via contributions of $200 or less, with campaign contributions averaging $18. “That is unprecedented in her district where Crowley has raised millions of dollars—with the overwhelming majority of it coming from large donors,” they reported.
She’s a Member of the Democratic Socialists of America, the Largest Socialist Organization in the Country.
“To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity,” the Bernie Sanders campaign organizer told Vogue. “It’s asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education. It’s one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live.”
She continued, “It’s to say that no individual’s civil rights are to be violated. And it’s to say that we need to really examine the historical inequities that have created much of the inequalities—both in terms of economics and social and racial justice—because they are intertwined.”
She May Become the Youngest Woman Ever Elected to Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez will run against Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November mid-term election. If she comes out on top, she could be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, joining the several women who’ve been doing the damn thing in recent primary elections.