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Joe Crowley Is Either Still Running Against Ocasio-Cortez Or A Victim Of NY's Bewildering Election Laws

Rep. Joe Crowley with his colleagues before the 56th Annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.
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Rep. Joe Crowley with his colleagues before the 56th Annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. Shutterstock

It appears Joe Crowley may not be ready to give up his spot atop the Queen's machine just yet—or maybe he is, and the state's election rules were just designed to be as confusing as possible. It's not really clear.

Despite Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stunning victory in last month's congressional primary, Crowley has reportedly refused to vacate the Working Families Party line, which means he could still appear on the general election ballot in November. His unexpected defiance has flummoxed leaders of the political party, who had assumed Crowley would immediately remove himself from the ballot, according to the Times.

"You’d think that given the moment we’re in that Democratic leaders would want to help progressive forces to unite," Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, told the newspaper. He added that he reached out to Crowley about conceding the third-party nomination, but the campaign declined.

Shortly after the Times story came out this morning, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that Crowley had repeatedly reneged on his initial offer support her candidacy. "So much for 'Born to Run,'" she noted, referring to Crowley's live performance of the song, which he dedicated to Ocasio-Cortez, after the race was called.

Crowley, meanwhile, fired back on Twitter that he's actually "not running," and that the only reason he hasn't been removed from the ballot was because he has "lots [of] questions about the WFP line." According to New York state election law, a candidate can only be removed from a party's ballot if they die, leave the state, are convicted of a crime, or accept a nomination for another office. Crowley says he doesn't plan on running for office elsewhere—or dying, for that matter—and thus can't actually remove himself from the ballot.

We've reached out to the Working Families Party to see how that square's with Lipton's claim that Crowley is working against progressive forces, and to both campaigns to see who is dodging calls from whom. We'll update once we hear back.

UPDATE: The Working Families Party is now calling on Crowley to register to vote in Virginia in order to take himself off the ballot line, but a spokesperson for Crowley says the congressman finds that suggestion "unacceptable," NBC News reports.

"It is disappointing that Crowley has refused to vacate the Working Families Party ballot line," Lipton said in a statement. "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."

Crowley's refusal has not earned him many new fans on Twitter.


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