U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., skated to victory in the state’s 14th Congressional District on Tuesday night.
The win continued an astonishing rise in political popularity born out of an underdog grassroots campaign that led her to a surprise win in 2018.
This year, Ocasio-Cortez’s seat was contested by Bronx, N.Y., native John Cummings, who served as a school teacher in the area, as well as a member of the New York Police Department.
He ran as a Republican in the largely Democratic district, hoping to attract voters who were dismayed by Ocasio-Cortez’s ideology – including her identification as a Democratic socialist – and some of her other stances, like speaking out against e-commerce giant Amazon moving to Queens.
While Ocasio-Cortez was largely favored to win the race, it became the second most-expensive House race in the U.S., as reported by The New York Times.
Democrats were hoping to maintain an advantage in the House of Representatives – where Republicans needed a net gain of 17 seats to win back the majority.
After Ocasio-Cortez initially won her House seat in 2018 – securing nearly 80% of the vote – she went on to become the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress at age 29.
Her win in the June 2018 primary, where she unseated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, was considered a major political upset. At the time, Crowley was considered in the running to become House speaker.
Prior to her candidacy, Ocasio-Cortez was a waitress and a bartender and has publicly talked about her working-class roots. She is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents.