CAREER Gender POLITICS

Primary Upset: Youngest Woman May Soon Be Elected to House

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary for the New York Congressional seat on January 26th. The 28-year-old newcomer to politics ran a successful and passionate grass-roots campaign to beat out ten-term Congressman Rep. Joe Crowley.  Some accused Crowley of taking the race for granted as he had commenting on wanting the Speaker of the House position and had, for fourteen years, run unopposed.

Ocasio-Cortez has been outspoken as a socialist Democrat and former campaigner for Bernie Sanders.  Her campaign focused on universal healthcare, tuition-free college and criminal justice reform for a geographical area that is mostly minorities. Her Puerto Rican background was a strong point in the primary and will remain so as she champions the goal of true representation for the district. She spoke of the district, saying,  “Our median income is around $47,000 a year, we’re about 70% people of color…We’ve had the same representation for a generation.”

Ocasio-Cortez, a graduate of Boston University with a degree in economics and international relations, has worked several jobs to make ends meet and financially assist her mother, a cleaning woman and bus driver. One of her campaigns highlighted her background as a proud contrast to her opponent, stating,

“Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office…I was born in a place where your zip code determined your destiny.”

Her victory that was a stunning for many reasons.

  • She won by a 15-percentage-points lead.
  • Her funding was nearly one-tenth that of the incumbent.
  • Her funds were made up predominantly from small individual contributions.

Funds Raised

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November mid-terms. If elected she will be the youngest woman elected to the House of Representatives.

 

Sources:

Funding Source: Center for Responsive Politics

Profile image from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter Page

 

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