WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who was ousted by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) marked his political demise this week by attending his own wake.
Ocasio-Cortez received 57 percent of the vote in the June Democratic primary, but per election rules 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley’s (D-N.Y.) name remained on the ballot and he received about 7 percent of the vote on Election Day.
On Monday, Irish Consul General Ciaran Madden hosted a wake for Crowley at his residence in New York City. According to Irish Central, Madden pulled together politicians and Irish community leaders to pay tribute to the politically departed.
“Your loss is our loss. It’s a huge loss for the community,” Madden said. “My job is to see the world through green-tinted glasses. And Joe, you are a great friend.”
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he was still “in major denial” about Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise victory.
“In this difficult, painful, tumultuous time that we see ourselves in every single day, it’s really important to have honorable, decent people within elected office, and that’s what Joe Crowley is and what he’s always been,” Johnson said.
He added that “it’s not a funeral” for Crowley: “He’s not dead! He’s to be celebrated tonight!”
Crowley’s 85-year-old mum, an Irish immigrant from County Armagh, was also at the wake.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. We’ll figure it out,” the congressman said of his next steps. “There’s been a lot of good overtures but nothing yet.”
In Washington today, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) was elected to fill Crowley’s role as caucus chairman in the next Congress.
“No matter what else happens throughout this day I know that the country is in great hands, the caucus is in great hands with Hakeem,” Crowley said.
Jeffries praised Crowley as a mentor and said he stands on his shoulders, as “I stand on the shoulders of people like Jim Clyburn and John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver and Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel and Shirley Chisholm.”