Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Democratic socialist who unexpectedly toppled Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in Tuesday’s primary race, is rooting for another political underdog to win big ― this time in Massachusetts.
“Vote her in next, Massachusetts,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday about Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman to serve on the Boston City Council now running to unseat Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) in the House.
Pressley faces an uphill battle against Capuano, a 10-term incumbent. But Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory over Crowley, a Democratic powerhouse, has many wondering if another major primary upset is brewing in The Bay State.
Both women have expressed enthusiastic support for each other. Pressley, 44, sent campaign staff to assist Ocasio-Cortez in her get-out-the-vote efforts and was quick to congratulate her on Tuesday.
“You proved that when we stand up for what we believe in, we win,” Pressley tweeted. “This is a movement. Together, we will change the world.”
Like Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley is a woman of color challenging an incumbent white male lawmaker. Both House hopefuls are calling for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and support “Medicare for all” and higher education reform ― Pressley is pushing for debt-free college while Ocasio-Cortez is after tuition-free college.
Still, Pressley doesn’t exactly mirror political newcomer Ocasio-Cortez’s race this week. Pressley, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, has enjoyed a political career that spans over 18 years.
“I’ve been told to wait my turn,” Pressley said at a kickoff event for her campaign in February. “I’ve been accused of naked ambition.”
“I’ve been called a traitor for challenging an incumbent, told simply this isn’t the way things are done here in Massachusetts,” she continued. “When the challenges we are confronted with are this big, this deep, and growing, I can’t and I won’t wait my turn.”
Massachusetts voters will decide Pressley’s political fate on Sept. 4.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise win represented “a choice in one district” and was not representative of a larger movement within the Democratic Party.
But Ocasio-Cortez pushed back against that theory, voicing support for several other candidates who have declined corporate donations to their campaigns, including Pressley.
“I think that we’re in the middle of a movement in this country ... but that movement is going to happen from the bottom up,” she said Wednesday on CNN. “I do think that we do need to elect a generation of new people to Congress on both parties.”