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US progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeats political veteran Joe Crowley in New York - but who is she?

US political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made waves by defeating veteran representative Joe Crowley in New York's Democratic primary.

Her victory means that at just 28-years-old, Ms Ocasio-Cortez could be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress if she wins at the mid-terms in November against Republican candidate Anthony Pappas.

  • Who is she?
Ms Ocasio-Cortez has protested against the controversial child separation policy. Credit: PA

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, was previously an organiser for Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign.

A year ago, she was working as a waitress and bartender to help support her family.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley, a 10-term congressman who had been tipped to run for party leadership and be the next Speaker of the House, in the New York Democratic primaries after a heartfelt, grassroots campaign.

Speaking to MSNBC Morning about her background, she said that her father passed away when she was in her teens and her mother cleaned homes and drove school buses to help them get by.

“Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” Ocasio-Cortez's campaign advert said, yet the progressive Democratic Socialist has proved a relatable and refreshing choice for many New Yorkers.

She has said that her campaign focused on the "message of economic, social and racial dignity for working-class Americans, especially those in Queens and the Bronx.”

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has said it is important to "lay out a plan and a vision that people can believe in" and stick to that message.

She added that "getting into Twitter fights with the president" is "not where we're going to find progress as a nation".

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  • What are her policies?

Ms Ocasio-Cortez's win was borne from a progressive campaign that, as the result proved, was popular with many New York voters.

She showed support for a healthcare plan that would guarantee cover for all Americans, reform in the criminal justice system and tuition-free college education.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez also backed the universal jobs guarantee, which would mean the federal government would have to provide a job for every American citizen.

Veteran representative Joe Crowley has been unseated. Credit: PA
  • How has she won?

Joe Crowley has been in Congress for 10 terms, but Ms Ocasio-Cortez's popularity in the Bronx and Queens seemingly aided her win.

Despite gaining little support from many of her Democratic peers, she managed to raise more small, individual donations than any other New York congressional candidate.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez's socialist policies, which pulled on New Yorker's heartstrings in the wake of the Trump administration separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, has lead to the unseating of a candidate who would ordinarily be a safe vote for the Democrats.

  • What has the reaction been?

President Donald Trump has tweeted in celebration of the unseating of Joe Crowley, but is yet to comment on his far-left Latina successor.

Writing to his followers, he called Mr Crowley a "Big Trump Hater Congressman" and said he believed that the "Democrats are in turmoil".

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Fellow Democrat and former Sex In The City star Cynthia Nixon, who will face her own battle against New York governer Andrew Cuomo, has strongly supported and endorsed Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

“She represents the future of the Democratic Party,” Ms Nixon said.

“Alexandria and I are joining together to take on the old boys’ club, rejecting corporate money and run people-powered campaigns that envision a progressive New York that serves the many, not just the few who can afford to buy influence.”