In a recent podcast interview, former Rep. Joe Crowley reflected on his upset defeat when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a Democratic primary against him, the influence of former President Donald Trump on his own loss, and said he’s happy with some of the opportunities he has had since serving in Congress, including producing a new Broadway show.
Crowley was a House member for 20 years and a member of Democratic leadership before he was vanquished in 2018 in the 14th Congressional District Democratic primary by the liberal Ocasio-Cortez, a former intern for Sen. Bernie Sanders and a bartender.
Crowley’s defeat in the Bronx- and Queens-based district was among the most shocking in the decade for Democratic incumbents. Especially for a lawmaker seen as a possible future successor as Democratic leader to Nancy Pelosi.
“You know, I never owned the seat in that congressional district. A congressional district is not owned by any one person,” Crowley said in a recent interview on the podcast Pro Politics with Zac McCrary.
“It was owned by the people of the 14th Congressional District,” Crowley said. “I had an incredible 20-year career in the House of Representatives, and I look back very fondly on my years of service, the people I got to meet, to know. It changed my life, changed my family’s lives. I look back with nothing but fondness and admiration for the people that I worked with.”
Asked if there was anything in hindsight that he would have done differently in his final campaign, Crowley said his loss was due to a “confluence of things that have happened at that time,” including the November 2016 election of Trump, himself a Queens native.
“I have a better, real clear understanding of just how powerful the election of Donald Trump was,” Crowley said. “In many respects, it lit the fire onto the base of our party, and I think that’s a good thing in many respects, you know. Maybe personally, it didn’t work out for me, but I think he created the energy we needed to oust him as president in four years.”
Crowley argued the only way to drive change in representation in the heavily Democratic district was within the party’s primary, rather than the general election, “so that they have played a role in that as well.”
But Crowley said he has made peace with the loss and declined chances to run for other offices.
“I just feel that I had a good run,” he said. “I had a good career in elected office and have a job that I’m doing right now.”
Crowley said he is working as a policy adviser at the firm Squire Patton Boggs but has found time for other opportunities as well.
“Just as an aside, for instance, if I was still in the House of Representatives, I could not be a top-line, co-producer of a musical that will open this April 3, a Broadway play called Paradise Square,” he said.
Original Location: Trump inadvertently helped AOC win House seat, says former Rep. Joe Crowley
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