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Lieberman: Defeated Incumbent Should Run As Independent Against Ocasio-Cortez

Former Democratic senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal urging Rep. Joe Crowley of New York to run as an independent against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated him in a primary last month.

Lieberman points to the fact that Crowley’s name will still be on the ballot for the Working Families Party, because Crowley technically won their primary; due to an election technicality, Crowley said he cannot remove himself from the ballot unless he dies, leaves the state, or is nominated for a different office. This technicality caused tension between Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley last week.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley seems likely to hurt Congress, America and the Democratic Party. It doesn’t have to,” Lieberman wrote in his op-ed.

Lieberman pointed to his own successful third-party run in Connecticut as precedent. Lieberman lost his Democratic primary in 2006 to Ned Lamont, but ultimately claimed the seat as an independent. He urged Crowley to do the same.

“I ran as an independent because I wanted all the voters to decide whether I deserved to continue to serve them in the Senate,” Lieberman said. “It was a risk, but I concluded it was worth it to know that I had taken my fight for the kind of government I believed in as far as I possibly could.”

In his reasoning for Crowley’s run, Lieberman pointed to Ocasio-Cortez’s foreign policy, particularly in regards to Israel.

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t speak much about foreign policy during the primary, but when she did, it was from the [Democratic Socialists of America] policy book,” Liberman said, which included “reflexive criticism of one of America’s great democratic allies (Israel).”

He wrote: “I hope Joe Crowley will give all the voters of his district the opportunity to re-elect him in November—and I hope they find his name on their ballots.”

Juliana Kaplan is a news intern at The Forward. Email her at or follow her on Twitter, @julianamkaplan




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