How Will Ocasio-Cortez Victory Impact Pressley-Capuano Race?

In a stunning victory, a 28-year-old Democrat from New York with ties to Boston was able to beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley in Tuesday's primary.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Boston University graduate, was a teenager when Crowley began serving in his position and has become one of the top-ranking Democrats in Congress.

Political observers nationwide are now talking about Ocasio-Cortez, an activist who was bartending just last November to pay the bills.

What her shocking win over Crowley means for the Democratic Party and similar primary races around the country, including the 7th district in Massachusetts, remains to be seen.

Boston University professor Tom Whalen says Congressman Michael Capuano must have a big headache based on the similar challenge he is receiving from Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is running to unseat him. She wants to abolish ICE and supports progressive programs like Medicare for all.

"It’s going to be a question of how far does he want to go along with that," Whalen said. "He is considered more of an establishment Democrat. Closely tied to Nancy Pelosi."

Pressley, who has become friendly with Ocasio-Cortez, says she's not trying to out-progress anyone and prefers to think of her race as a movement where she is championing the values in the district — one of the most diverse in the country.

Pressley's campaign adviser, Wilnelia Rivera, says her first reaction is that Pressley's message is working.

"And even in the movement, you're going to have some folks who are not going to be 100 percent with you. But we are at least going to create a space for us to be uncomfortable together," Rivera said.

A spokesperson for Capuano says every race in every district is different and that the congressman is an unwavering fighter for progressive values.

"He is not taking anything for granted in this campaign and never has in any election. We're in the fight of our lives and we believe people here will recognize that we need to keep Mike’s experience, proven skill, and strength in that fight," said the spokesperson.

Polls in the race have shown Capuano with a significant lead, but now, many will be watching to see if the New York primary upset will have any effect on the Massachusetts 7th district race.

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