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Report: The Man AOC Defeated in the Primary Had Potentially Game-Changing Dirt on Her

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We’ve all made decisions that we’d like to take back. Whether it’s saying the wrong thing or making a bad purchase, it would be nice if life had a “do-over” button sometimes.

It’s a safe bet that many New Yorkers wish they could take back Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The youngest member of Congress and open socialist was hailed by many as the new face of liberalism, but her time in office has so far been a dud.

The 29-year-old former bartender angered countless New York residents after she crusaded against Amazon’s headquarters expansion plans in the state, which would have brought tens of thousands of jobs. Ocasio-Cortez stepped on so many toes that citizens paid for a Times Square billboard to call her out.

Then there was the potentially disastrous “Green New Deal,” a massive government spending program poorly disguised as a cow flatulence measure. Luckily, that proposal didn’t go far, but it did make many voters think twice about Ocasio-Cortez — something that has been reflected in her poll numbers.

But all of those headaches could have been completely avoided last year. A new report from the New York Post suggests that the frequently clueless congresswoman might have been stopped before she even won the primary, but her opponent just didn’t see her as a serious threat.

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“An overconfident Joe Crowley opted against using negative ammunition against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because he believed that he had the Democratic primary locked up,” the newspaper reported on Monday.

Crowley, you may remember, was the establishment Democrat from New York who was seen as the shoe-in for the seat Ocasio-Cortez now holds. His younger opponent pulled off a stunning upset by rallying the far-left in her area and knocking on thousands of doors. Like it or not, her strategy worked.

Yet Ocasio-Cortez likely would have been just a footnote instead of the political main event — or is that circus sideshow? — if Crowley had used some of that “negative ammunition.”

“Crowley had plenty of fodder he could’ve used against Ocasio-Cortez, but his top New York campaign operatives decided to take the punches and not hit back,” Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer of Politico wrote in their latest book.

Would Crowley have been a better congressman than AOC?

“It wasn’t just that Crowley didn’t want to go dirty; he thought it would be a sign of weakness in D.C. if he was seen in a tight race against Ocasio-Cortez,” the pundits wrote. “He was supposed to be the next Democratic leader, not someone who had to fight for reelection.”

So just what ammunition did Crowley have against Ocasio-Cortez? For starters, it looks like he knew that the inexperienced newcomer may have dodged campaign finance laws by allegedly funneling money to avoid scrutiny.

“The conservative National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last month charging that Ocasio-Cortez’s team used two affiliated political action committees to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars into a limited-liability company to evade campaign finance laws,” explained the Post.

Although that accusation came to light only recently, the newspaper said that Crowley and his team had evidence of possible wrongdoing by the Ocasio-Cortez camp during the primary election, but kept it close to the vest.

That dirt could still hurt the congresswoman if it turns out to be accurate, although it remains to be seen if anything will come of it.

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Voters, of course, do have “do-overs” when it comes to bad politicians, but they’ll have to wait until 2020 to vote Ocasio-Cortez out of office. Even if she continues to make political blunders, though, she could still win re-election in a very leftist district.

Although we aren’t in the habit of longing for Democrats to take power, even conservatives must admit that compared to the current representative, Crowley would have seemed downright moderate.

There’s a lesson here, although it may be too late for Crowley: Seeing an election as “guaranteed” isn’t smart, and going no-holds-barred after a vulnerable opponent instead of playing it safe can often win. That was the lesson in 2016 at the national level, and in the last midterm as well.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.