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28-year-old newcomer ousts 10-term NY congressman

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Pelosi-heir apparent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district. "It's the year of the woman in American politics," says CNN's John King.

Posted: Jun 28, 2018 12:12 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2018 12:19 PM

The growing generation gap in the House Democratic caucus widened this week after Rep. Joe Crowley's loss in the Democratic primary in New York to 28-year-old activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Crowley, the House Democratic caucus chair, was expected to be a potential challenger to California's Rep. Nancy Pelosi for the speakership should Democrats take back the House in November.

Pelosi has faced criticism from within her caucus for her stated desire to regain the speakership: A growing number of Democrats have said it's time for her to step aside and allow a younger generation of leaders take control of the Democratic Party. Pelosi, who turned 78 earlier this year, has rejected those calls.

Responding to Crowley's loss Tuesday, Pelosi dismissed a question about whether the Democratic leadership should better reflect a younger, more progressive generation.

"I am female. I am progressive. What's your problem?" she shot back.

Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday that it was too early to say if she'd back a Pelosi speakership. The candidate has not mentioned age as a reason not to back Pelosi, but some Democrats in Congress, like Rep. Linda Sanchez, a fellow Californian, have publicly said things like, "I do think it's time to pass a torch to a new generation of leaders."

Pelosi would be the oldest speaker ever elected if Democrats take the majority and she can unite them behind her. According to the House of Representatives, the oldest person elected speaker was 72: Henry Rainey of Illinois, in 1933.

But what age is typical for those elected speaker of the House? Looking back at the ages of all 54 speakers when they were first elected, the average is about 50 years old.

Current Democratic leaders Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina are 79 and 77, respectively -- far older than the average speaker of the House.

Even Crowley, who was seen by many as a younger option to Pelosi, is 56.

So there's certainly some truth in the criticism that there's a lack of youth at the top of the Democratic Party in the House. However, the advanced age of the Democrats jockeying for speaker is reflected in the historical trend: The age of the speaker is significantly higher in recent history than overall.

Since Samuel Rayburn became speaker of the House in 1940, the average age of the speaker is 62 -- a full 12 years higher than the overall average.

Speakers who served prior to 1940 had an average age of 48.

Changes in quality of life and medical care have led to Americans living longer in general, which in some ways could account for the increase in the average age of House speakers. But the fact remains that Pelosi and the other top Democrats are far older than the usual age for a speaker.

Going to a younger option isn't necessarily a home run for Democrats, however -- if they can take back the House at all. The potential Democratic challengers to Pelosi are mostly much younger than the historical average. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who challenged Pelosi's leadership of the party in 2016 is 44, six years below the average age of a speaker. Prominent Pelosi critic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is 39, which would make him the youngest speaker elected since before the Civil War.

Other potential challengers are closer to the historical average, such as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, 47, and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, 47.

Perhaps a leading contender to unseat Pelosi is Sanchez, the current vice chair of the House Democratic caucus. And wouldn't you know it ... she's 49, only one year off the average.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
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Jackson5865
Warrick58130
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Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
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Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
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Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
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Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
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