Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) has not conceded to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young socialist challenger who beat him in last month’s primary, Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday.
“[He] stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy,” she tweeted Thursday morning. “Instead, he’s stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls.”
Crowley pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez Thursday.
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 (@JoeCrowleyNY) July 12, 2018
“We’ve scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through,” he tweeted.
Crowley did not comment on why, as The New York Times reported Thursday, he has refused to vacate the Working Families Party line, meaning he’ll remain on the ballot in November as a third party candidate.
Crowley won the Working Families Party nomination, a minor but powerful third party in the state, but after he lost the Democratic nomination to Ocasio-Cortez, the state director of Working Families Party, Bill Lipton, reportedly reached out to Crowley and asked the congressman to vacate the line. Crowley declined.
“You’d think that given the moment we’re in that Democratic leaders would want to help progressive forces to unite,” Lipton told the Times.
Why Crowley refuses to vacate the line is unclear, as his campaign told the Times, “Joe Crowley is a Democrat. He’s made clear he is not running for Congress and supports the Democratic nominee in NY-14.”
To Crowley’s credit, as the Times noted, convoluted election laws make vacating the line a complicated process. Legally, the Working Families Party would have to nominate him for another electoral position on the ballot, likely a low-level position elsewhere in the state where Republicans have power, so he’s essentially sure to lose.
According to Lipton, the Working Families Party would like to do just that, but Crowley reportedly won’t let them.
Other Democrats who previously supported Crowley have been quick to jump on the Ocasio-Cortez train. Days after Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said she was “someone who absolutely comes from [his] wing of the party,” and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called her the “future of our party.”
While NY-14 is a safely Democratic district — Anthony Pappas, the Republican nominee in NY-14, hasn’t even set up a website yet — having two Democrats could spoil a race the party might otherwise have in the bag.
That precarious situation has already manifested elsewhere, in the Montgomery County executive race in Maryland.
Democrat Nancy Floreen launched an independent bid for the seat Wednesday, The Washington Post reported, after a candidate backed by the Democratic Socialists in the area, Marc Elrich, won the Democratic primary. Floreen called Elrich and the Republican nominee Robin Ficker both “flawed extremes” in a statement.
Democrats have held the Montgomery County executive job since 1974, but Floreen’s bid could split the Democratic vote, handing the job to Ficker.
UPDATE, 2:00 P.M.: In email to ThinkProgress Thursday afternoon, Working Families Party Communications Director Rob Duffey said the party was disappointed Crowley has refused to vacate the ballot line.
“He chose not to show Ocasio-Cortez and the WFP respect by allowing us to put Ocasio-Cortez on our ballot line. WFP is giving all we have to electing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive insurgents all across the nation,” Duffey wrote. “The only remaining way for Crowley to do the right thing is to switch his residency to Virginia, where his family resides and his children already go to school. It would fix the problem he created in an instant.”