Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a political newcomer who stunned Rep. Joe Crowley in the Queens-Bronx district, came across as "an extremely compelling candidate" - a young, hard-working, articulate woman - "in a year when people are looking for change", said Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat who represents the solidly blue North Coast.
It all started after President Trump posted a ludicrous tweet, claiming Crowley lost because he wasn't nice enough to the far right extremist president.
Early Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez was being hailed as the "new face of progressive politics".
Ocasio-Cortez, who would be the youngest member of Congress if she, as expected, wins in November, is a former organiser for Bernie Sanders and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Focussing on economic justice, Medicare for All, and the abolition of US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ocasio-Cortez spent the final weekend of the campaign not ringing doorbells in her district but instead confronting ICE agents at a detention center on the Texas border.
Several factors may have allowed Ocasio-Cortez to pull off her upset of Crowley, who had been a candidate to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the party's leader in the House.
Variety pulled straight from the AP's book: "U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley defeated by young challenger in Democratic primary in NY". "I counted out that possibility because I felt that possibility had counted out me. We knew that if we talked to people that had never been engaged or invited to the electorate that maybe they would show up".
Rep. Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democrat and a member of the progressive caucus, said he doesn't envision Democrats facing the same struggles in unifying the wings of their party.
Despite being a heavy favorite, Ocasio-Cortez seemed to have spooked Crowley in recent weeks.
Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for U.S. Sen. I mean, you even have, even though Stacey Abrams won her campaign a year ago resoundingly, I mean last month resoundingly, there was still a battle and a fight to get support from outside of establishment DNC groups to support her. "[Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] represents the future of the Democratic Party", said Nixon.
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Although commentators have often emphasized the candidate's appeal in one of the most diverse districts in the country - she is a third-generation Bronx woman of Puerto Rican descent - Ocasio-Cortez often leads with the language of class interests, in addition to race and gender.
"I can not put this into words", Ocasio-Cortez told a reporter at the party.
If Ocasio-Cortez defeats the Republican candidate, Anthony Pappas, in the predominantly Democratic district in November, she would dethrone Elise Stefanik, a Republican representative from central NY, as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress (Stefanik was 30 when she took office in 2015).
On CNN, Ocasio-Cortez spoke further about her opposition to ICE and the Trump administration's immigration policy, under which she said secretive children's detention centers are comparable to black sites run by the Central Intelligence Agency.
"I think that we're in the middle of a movement in this country", Ocasio-Cortez said to CNN's Erin Burnett.
In New York, Ocasio-Cortez cast Crowley as an elitist out of touch with the community.
Cynthia Nixon, the former Sex and the City star running for NY governor, described Ocasio-Cortez as the "future of the Democratic Party". "That may determine whether Democrats are able to take back the House of Representatives in November". "Through frequent conversations with her, it didn't take long for me to agree".