Joe Crowley had ‘plenty’ dirt on Ocasio-Cortez but was too cocky to use it in campaign

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Former Congressman Joe Crowley opted not to use negative information he had about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the campaign that led to his defeat, a new book reveals.

In a race he was considered to lock up as winner, the Democrat representing New York’s 14th congressional district –  which contains the Bronx and Queens – was reportedly so confident in the outcome that he held back information that may have derailed his opponent’s eventual victory, according to Politico reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer in their new book, “The Hill to Die On.”

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“Crowley had plenty of fodder he could’ve used against Ocasio-Cortez, but his top New York campaign operatives decided to take the punches and not hit back,” Sherman and Palmer wrote, according to The New York Post.

After two decades in Washington, D.C., Crowley was thought by many to be the successor to then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and no one – including the confidant lawmaker – saw his defeat coming by a 29-year-old newcomer. The 10-term incumbent was unseated by his challenger by almost 15 points, leaving the Democratic establishment stunned.

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“It wasn’t just that Crowley didn’t want to go dirty; he thought it would be a sign of weakness in D.C. if he was seen in a tight race against Ocasio-Cortez. He was supposed to be the next Democratic leader, not someone who had to fight for reelection,” the book explained.

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Among the alleged negative ammunition that Crowley had on his opponent was information about dubious financial practices by her campaign that have since come up publicly. Crowley’s aides reportedly knew about them during the campaign but the issue was never raised.

The National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint last month with the Federal Elections Commission alleging an affiliation between Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and two political action committees to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to skirt campaign finance laws.

The Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed an FEC complaint as well, alleging that thousands of dollars were laundered through a political action committee to the democratic socialist’s boyfriend, Riley Roberts.

Meanwhile, Crowley, the former chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, had believed he was unstoppable and chose not to confront Ocasio-Cortez with any of the negative information, thinking that his “institutional support would drown her,” according to Sherman and Palmer in their book.

Once the election was over and the votes were counted, however, “the seemingly invincible Queens party boss had gone down,” they wrote.

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Frieda Powers


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