Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes “astonishing” primary upset

Posted at 8:43 AM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 10:43:57-04

A shocking upset in a congressional primary could have major implications for the Democratic Party. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described socialist, defeated 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley in New York Tuesday night.

Crowley is the No. 4 House Democrat who was considered a potential successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. 

Cameras captured the former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign screaming as she saw the results come in.

"We had driven over to this party with our supporters and I had not checked the results at all," Ocasio-Cortez told "CBS This Morning" over the phone on Wednesday morning, fresh off her victory. "It was just so shocking. We had felt so great all day, but to see what that feeling looked like in numbers was really astonishing."

As recently as November, Ocasio-Cortez worked as a bartender. Asked why she thought her message resonated with voters, Ocasio-Cortez said, "I think a lot of working-class Americans and voters here have been waiting for an unapologetic champion for economic, social and racial dignity in the United States. And we provided a very direct message, a very clear message."

"Voters also knew that I was the only candidate in the race that did not take corporate money in a time when economic marginalization is really increasing in New York City," Ocasio-Cortez added. "So I think it created a lot of trust in our community and our message really inspired a lot of folks that don’t usually turn out in an off-year midterm primary."

She never doubted her chances.

"I always felt like we had a shot and that we had a possibility to win. Always from day one," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ocasio-Cortez said Democrats should not be afraid to go "toe-to-toe" with the Trump administration.

"His administration is a form of extremism and… we shouldn’t be afraid to be very bold and very strong in our values and be very clear-cut in what those values look like in policy and legislation," Ocasio-Cortez said. That includes charting a vision, she said, for "everyday people trying to make ends meet."