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Women kept on winning in Tuesday’s primary

They were also at the forefront of a progressive insurgency.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Upsets Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York primary
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrates her primary victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Scott Heins/Getty Images
Li Zhou is a politics reporter at Vox, where she covers Congress and elections. Previously, she was a tech policy reporter at Politico and an editorial fellow at the Atlantic.

Democratic women kept on winning during the primaries on Tuesday, playing a key role in fueling a progressive insurgency and securing nominations in key districts that will be vital for a potential “blue wave” this fall.

Women saw gains across all five states that went to the polls, including scoring a series of major victories in New York. Here’s a rundown of how women candidates did in Tuesday’s primaries.

Women were at the forefront of a resounding progressive insurgence

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic socialist and first-time political candidate, was responsible for the biggest upset of the night, defeating incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which encompasses part of Queens and the Bronx. Ocasio-Cortez, who ran a progressive platform touting Medicare-for-all, had also hit Crowley for being out of step with an increasingly diverse district.

Given the district’s Democratic leanings, Ocasio-Cortez has a high chance of taking the seat in November and would become one of the youngest members of the House if she does.

Progressive activist Dana Balter also swept away the chances of Juanita Perez Williams, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s choice, in New York’s 24th Congressional District upstate. Balter is a Syracuse University professor who garnered significant backing from local Democrats; some of them were annoyed when the Democratic establishment tried to swoop in and shape the race to its liking.

Former St. Lawrence County official Tedra Cobb, a progressive candidate, won her primary as well, by a landslide in New York’s 21st Congressional District.

A woman who helped shape election commission policy on child care advanced in her primary

Liuba Shirley beat out political veteran DuWayne Gregory of New York’s Second Congressional District, which is located along Long Island’s South Shore. Shirley is the founder of New York’s 2nd District Democrats, a group dedicated to opposing the Trump administration.

Shirley also made headlines earlier this spring after she gained Federal Election Commission (FEC) approval to use campaign dollars to pay for child care. Shirley had asked the agency if she could use campaign funds to cover her $22-per-hour cost of child care, an expense she incurred after starting to run for office. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among those who threw their backing behind Shirley’s request.

“We’re missing a very critical voice in Congress,” Shirley told reporters after the FEC decision. “When you’re in the thick of things with young children, you have a different perspective and we need that perspective in Congress.”

Women made a range of Democratic gains — with some Republican victories as well

In Oklahoma and Colorado, Democratic women defeated a series of primary competitors to advance in multiple districts. Consultant Amanda Douglas, teacher Mary Brannon, and political strategist Kendra Horn are all set to participate in the Oklahoma runoffs later this year.

Meanwhile, former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush and small business owner Karen McCormick dominated their Colorado primaries. On the Republican side, small-business owner Liz Matory and defense consultant Amie Hoeber sailed through their Maryland races as well.

Tuesday’s wins follow a set of stunning victories by Democratic women in Virginia earlier in June. They also further bolster existing data from this primary cycle, which suggests that when women run, they have a strong chance of making it to the ballot in the fall.

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