- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive insurgent who won a stunning victory against Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s Democratic primary last month, accused Crowley of mounting a third party bid against her.
- Crowley responded that he is not running, but is refusing to take his name off the ballot as the candidate endorsed by the Working Families Party.
- WFP is calling for the congressman to register to vote in Virginia, where he has a home, in order to have his name taken off the ballot.
After being celebrated for their collegiality following progressive insurgent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory over Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s Democratic primary last month, the new Democratic nominee and the longtime incumbent launched into a Twitter war on Thursday.
Ocasio-Cortez made the rift public when she tweeted that Crowley is keeping his name on the general election ballot as the nominee for the Working Families Party, which endorsed him during the election. She asserted that the congressman was, in fact, mounting a third party challenge against her – and that he had ignored her attempts to speak by phone.
.@repjoecrowley stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy.
Instead, he’s stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) July 12, 2018
Crowley soon responded – also via Twitter – to explain that he is not running for the seat, and that it was Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign that had ignored his team’s attempts to set up a call.
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
Elevating the dispute, a Crowley campaign spokesperson, who spoke anonymously to The Daily Beast, accused Ocasio-Cortez and her aides of lying about their attempts to organize a call with Crowley’s campaign.
“She’s lying and that’s wrong and it’s beneath the office she’s about to serve,” the spokesperson said. “Her team knows that this is not true and she knows that this is not true.”
As for the ballot issue, New York state election laws require a candidate to either register to vote in another state or switch their candidacy to another electoral office in order to have their name removed. (The only other ways a candidate can be taken off the ballot is if the person dies or commits a felony).
Crowley says that he will not change his residency (he owns a home just outside DC, in the Virginia suburbs) or allow himself to be nominated for another electoral position, which he said he considers illegal.
“I don’t plan on moving out of New York, have a clean record, hope God’s will is that I don’t die, and won’t commit what I honestly believe to be election fraud,” the congressman tweeted on Thursday morning.
The Working Families Party dug in, accusing Crowley of disrespecting Ocasio-Cortez by not removing himself from the ballot.
“He chose not to show Ocasio-Cortez and the WFP respect by allowing us to put Ocasio-Cortez on our ballot line,” Bill Lipton, WFP’s leader in New York, said in a statement to Business Insider. “WFP is giving all we have to electing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive insurgents all across the nation. 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.”
WFP’s counsel, Alex Rabb, insisted that it is perfectly legal for the congressman to have his name taken off the ballot by being nominated for another political office.
“There are offices around the state for which the Congressmember could be nominated. The New York State Court of Appeals has found that it is standard for parties to substitute candidates after a primary election, and that the practice does not violate the letter or the spirit of the law,” Rabb said in a statement. “I respect Congressman Crowley’s concerns, but there are common, straightforward and legal ways to remove candidates from the ballot in cases like this.”