Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla is facing some heat for criticizing Democratic New York Congressional Nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the weekend, exclaiming that Joe Crowley (D-14) was the superior choice since “we cannot have inexperienced people in their 20s.”
Bhalla’s remarks came during a campaign event for Crowley, who was on the short list of candidates to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the House Minority Leader, on Saturday.
“It’s not amateur hour in Washington: We cannot have inexperienced people in their 20s, no offense to the young people, but we need someone with a track record,” the mayor said before pausing due to some laughter in the crowd.
“All you in your 20s: you’re not running for Congress are you?,” he joked.
“But we need somebody with a track record and accomplishments. And I can tell you, as a minority, as a Sikh American, when Sikhs were denied the opportunity to serve in the military, who was it who stood up for the Sikh community: it was Congressman Crowley.”
In a stunning upset that almost no one predicted, Ocasio-Cortez, 28, definitively defeated Crowley in last night’s Democratic primary by a margin of about 58 to 42.
Bhalla’s remarks drew some additional scrutiny inside the Mile Square City since his deputy chief of staff, Jason Freeman, is 29, and several of his rumored council candidates for the 2019 ward races are millennials.
The connective tissue between Crowley and Bhalla is Vijay Chaudhuri: who managed Bhalla’s successful mayoral campaign last year and worked as Crowley’s director of community relations before becoming then-Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s chief of staff in 2015.
Chaudhuri was managing Crowley’s campaign this time around and was obviously unable to replicate his recent success in Hoboken.
Bhalla spokesman Rob Horowitz said little on the subject beyond congratulating Ocasio-Cortez on her big win.
“Ravi Bhalla actively supported Representative Crowley’s candidacy and he congratulates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her impressive win.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated with a comment from Mayor Ravi Bhalla spokesman Rob Horowitz.