Congressman Joe Crowley might be singing his swansong, but some are not yet ready to join in the chorus. Photo by Nuala Purcell.
By Ray O’Hanlon
He has said it repeatedly since losing the Democratic primary in June.
Not running, not campaigning. Support the primary winner!
But some person, or persons, are campaigning for Congressman Joe Crowley.
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And if they are not literally running around New York’s 14th congressional district they are for sure walking.
And handing out flyers supporting Crowley as they do so.
Crowley is a Democrat and a loyal one. He was fourth in line in the House Democratic hierarchy when his and the rest of the political world was rocked by the primary win of an upstart challenger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez is a progressive, a self-described Democratic Socialist. The description would barely rouse a second thought in, say, Ireland.
But this being America…
Crowley, 56, has taken positions on issues that could well be described as progressive too.
But he has long, in the main, mostly represented his party’s mainstream.
Many Democrats in the 14th would figure themselves mainstream too.
And clearly some of them are not sitting on their hands as the clock ticks down to November 6.
This from a New York Post report: “Six days before the election, flyers have turned up in Queens urging voters to support Rep. Joseph Crowley over Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — who stunned the political world in June by defeating the veteran congressman in the Democratic primary.
“Crowley, who remains on the ballot as the candidate of the Working Families and Women’s Equality Parties, says he has no idea who’s behind the flyers and doesn’t want people voting for him.”
Crowley’s response, via Twitter, was a repeat of what he has said repeatedly since June.
“Not running. Not campaigning. Shut down campaign operations months ago. Not circulating fliers. To whoever is: knock it off. Focus should be on electing Democrats to Republican seats. I’ve moved on, so should everyone else.”
The flyers, which the Post report acknowledged were first reported in the Bochinche column on Medium.com, say Crowley lost the primary because of “low turnout.”
“We need Joe back in Washington more than ever,” the flyer proclaims.
While Crowley has demurred since his primary loss, there have been consistent rumors floating around the 14th which includes parts of Queens and the Bronx, that many voters are not happy with the primary outcome.
That would include many voters who for one reason or another did not vote in the primary.
This, according to more than one observer, has led to a form of buyers’ remorse, or perhaps, more accurately, non-buyers’ remorse.
Given that he is still on the ballot, Crowley is certain to draw support from some of the primary absentees next Tuesday.
The question is how many of them.
Another factor is district Republican voters.
Though the sky would most certainly fall if the 14th went red on Tuesday, Republican voters could yet play an important role in the outcome should they decide to opt for the devil they know, Crowley, as opposed to the GOP candidate.
This is a more likely scenario now that the Republican candidate, Anthony Pappas, was, as the Post put it, “ditched this week by Bronx and Queens GOP leaders after he admitted his wife had accused him of domestic violence and taken out a restraining order against him.”
Of course despite all this late in the day drama Ocasio-Cortez is still expected to win the seat.
“We’re totally behind Ocasio-Cortez,” Crowley’s spokeswoman, Lauren French, told the New York Post.
“She will be the next congresswoman. This is a distraction from the goal of having Democrats win back the House,” French said.
Back in June Ocasio-Cortez took 57.5 percent of primary votes cast, compared to Crowley’s 42.5 percent.
Crowley – who of course remains the incumbent and so turns up for district events – has since made the point that he actually won a majority of black and Hispanic voters in the primary but that millennials had opted for Ocasio-Cortez, who is 29.
But of course there are more than just those voter categories in what is a heavily populated and very diverse district.
One of those categories is the still loyal Joe Crowley supporter.
Just how many of them head for the polls will be counted soon enough.