Almost as soon as she was declared the winner over Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Ocasio-Cortez made clear her ambition isn’t limited to the confines of the Queens and Bronx-based House district she’s almost certain to win in November.
She’s used her sudden fame as a platform to endorse and promote fellow insurgents across the country in their primary challenges against Democratic incumbents. And in the process, she’s building a national following that stands to make her an influential House progressive the moment she is sworn in.
“[Ocasio-Cortez’s victory] told people this is real. It’s not just a hoop dream. This can happen. You can beat the establishment,” said Kerri Harris, a 38-year-old biracial military veteran and community activist who is challenging Sen. Tom Carper in Delaware’s Democratic primary. “It put excitement back in our team. People are so excited.”