Defeated Congressman Joe Crowley (D-New York) appears to be doing what centrist Democrats like to imagine Bernie Sanders did after the 2016 Democratic primary.

Crowley — who lost the June 26 primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District to newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — is apparently refusing to remove his name from the November ballot on the Working Families Party (WFP) line. Even though the WFP asked Crowley to relinquish the ballot line, Ocasio-Cortez is accusing Crowley of intentionally refusing to concede and threatening to split the Democratic vote.

“[Crowley’s] stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Thursday. “Now, he’s mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party.”

However, Crowley retorted that he’s not actively campaigning, and that the fact that scheduled concession calls have not yet happened is the fault of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, not his.

New York state election law states that a candidate’s name cannot be removed from the ballot unless the candidate either dies, changes residences, is convicted of a crime, or accepts a nomination to another office. Crowley, who has lived in Virginia since 2003, has said that he does not plan to change residences and that he hopes “God’s will is that I don’t die.”

“Joe Crowley is a Democrat. He’s made clear he is not running for Congress and supports the Democratic nominee in NY-14,” a spokesman for his campaign told the New York Times.

Bill Lipton, the New York state director for the WFP, told the Daily Beast that it was “disappointing” that Crowley wasn’t vacating the WFP ballot line.

“[Crowley] chose not to show Ocasio-Cortez and the WFP respect by allowing us to put Ocasio-Cortez on our ballot line,” Lipton stated. “WFP is giving all we have to electing Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive insurgents all across the nation. 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.”

Whether or not Crowley is outwardly stating that he’s running, the controversy is not unlike what former Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) did in 2006, when he lost the Democratic primary that year but chose to keep running as an independent, thereby keeping his senate seat. Conversely, after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) lost the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, he abandoned his own campaign and stumped intensely for Hillary Clinton — including several times in Wisconsin, where Clinton never made an appearance.

Neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Crowley returned Grit Post’s requests for comment as of this writing.


Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.

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