Elections last year shattered the myth of the Queens County Democratic machine’s invincibility.
June saw now-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-Queens, Bronx) historic primary upset of then-party boss Rep. Joe Crowley. More insurgent wins came in September. Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights) unseated Aridia Espinal, a western Queens assemblywoman who the party picked in April to fill a vacancy. And in their own primaries, now-state Sens. John Liu (D-Bayside) and Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst) respectively toppled Tony Avella and the late Jose Peralta, two longtime lawmakers with party backing whom liberals targeted for being in the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democrats that allied with Senate Republicans.