Crowley, Ocasio-Cortez Prepare For Debate

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Joe Crowley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will square off in at least one debate this week with just two weeks to go until the Democratic primary.

U.S. Representative Joe Crowley
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, The Bronx) is facing his first primary challenger in 14 years, a 28-year-old woman named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The two will participate in a debate set for June 15 hosted by NY1.

Yet there is a debate scheduled for today at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights organized by Pan-American Democratic Association of Queens and United Dominican Coalition. While Ocasio-Cortez is confirmed, Rep. Joe Crowley is yet to confirm his attendance.

Saikat Chakrabarti, a spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, verified Ocasio-Cortez’s attendance for Monday’s debate and hoped Rep. Crowley would attend tonight’s debate as well in Jackson Heights.

“They can count on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be there, and she will be advocating for the issues closest to our community’s heart. Constituents can expect to hear Alexandria’s vision for a New York and an America that is working to improve the lives of its people by advancing bold Democratic policies like Medicare-for-All, housing as a right, abolishing ICE, a federal jobs guarantee, real criminal justice reform, and free public college and trade schools,” he said.

Furthermore, he explained that constituents can expect to hear from a candidate that is challenging the incumbent, a first in 14 years.

“They have the option to vote for someone who is taking no money from corporations and who is driven to create a New York that is affordable for working families. They have the option to have a representative who lives here and faces its challenges every day, unlike the current incumbent,” Chakrabarti said.

Anthony Pappas, a St. John’s University professor and Republican candidate in the race, explained he was originally part of the debate, until told it would become a Democrat-only debate.

Ramon Ramirez-Baez, a person who helped organized the event, explained that he wanted the debate to focus on the two Democratic candidates and hoped to see both appear.

“We don’t have the confirmation yet [from Crowley]. There is nothing concrete,” he said.

Ramirez-Baez said there is significant attention given toward this event and reported calls from people outside New York inquiring about the debate.

There is a separate debate happening on June 15 that Rep. Crowley said he would attend. This debate will be hosted by NY1 and feature Ocasio-Cortez as well.

A spokesperson for Crowley declined to comment.

The Democratic primary is set for Tuesday, June 26.