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.
So much for “Born to Run.”
If you want to see me in Congress, we need your help now more than ever. We cannot underestimate the power of dark money.
Support us now: https://t.co/piU7pXr9CU
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) July 12, 2018
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.
Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together. I’ve made my support for you clear and the fact that I’m not running. We’ve scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I’d like to connect but I’m not willing to air grievances on Twitter. https://t.co/hxEeWEpI2O
— Joe Crowley (@JoeCrowleyNY) July 12, 2018
I don’t plan on moving out of New York, have a clean record, hope God’s will is that I don’t die, and won’t commit what I honestly believe to be election fraud. https://t.co/Cxk3s5zALi
— Joe Crowley (@JoeCrowleyNY) July 12, 2018
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.
So now Crowley, the Dem boss of Queens County mind you, says he has *ethical concerns* about giving up the WFP line.
The guy is just being a petty dick for no other reason than to stick it to @Ocasio2018 *and* WFP. https://t.co/gwRKGH3Kaj
— the albany project (@albanyproject) July 12, 2018
Joe Crowley is telling @Ocasio2018 to sit down & be quiet and that Democrats need to "come together" while he refuses to take his name off the November ballot—effectively fracturing the party and risking splitting the vote.
Never underestimate an old white man who wants power. pic.twitter.com/bK8Z5FGId5
— jordan (@JordanUhl) July 12, 2018
the threat of Crowley campaigning is enough to force Ocasio-Cortez to spend time and resources on winning a safe Democratic seat that she could otherwise be spending to help leftist challengers in other districts https://t.co/Mg2GnPhG2s
— Virgil Texas (@virgiltexas) July 12, 2018
I watched that Ocasio-Crowley debate. I thought he might try to stay on the ballot if he lost and was so relieved when he made it clear in the debate he'd be out. Clearly, Crowley should have quickly gotten off the ballot, and should do whatever he needs to now.
— Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) July 12, 2018