Rep. Joe Crowley of New York — the No. 4 Democrat in the House — declined on Sunday to endorse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for speaker, should Democrats take back the chamber from the GOP in this fall’s elections.
“Well, look, you know, I do think that that’ll be up to the new Congress to decide who the next leader or speaker … be,” Crowley told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
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“If we win the House back, Nancy will have a very strong case for holding on to the speakership,” he said. “If not, there may be other issues that come to the fore at that point. But it’s up to the next Congress, Democratic Caucus to decide that fate.”
Crowley was widely viewed within the party as a potential successor to the California Democrat before his upset loss last month to 28-year-old political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, making Crowley the first House Democrat to lose a primary this year.
“This is on me. This loss is on me. I had wonderful volunteers, hundreds of them, and a great campaign effort. And just sometimes you come up short,” Crowley said Sunday.
“I have to take the responsibility for that I did not do as I preach. You know, I talk about all politics being local,” he said. “I didn’t remind folks of my accomplishments.”
Still, Crowley said there were “a number of factors” that contributed to his surprise defeat, including an isolated, earlier-than-normal primary date, as well as what he described as “the year of the woman.”
“I think that’s a fact that’s playing into this,” he explained, “and I like that for November. I think that’s really good for us as a party.”
The congressman engaged in a spat on social media last week, when Ocasio-Cortez accused Crowley of planning to mount a third-party run against her in November’s general election, despite his public pledge to back her candidacy.
“.@repjoecrowley stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy. Instead, he’s stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls. Now, he’s mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party- and against the will of @NYWFP,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together. I’ve made my support for you clear and the fact that I’m not running. We’ve scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I’d like to connect but I’m not willing to air grievances on Twitter,” Crowley wrote online.