Mr Crowley, 56, now the powerful chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who was seen as a potential future House Speaker, was unseated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist who is nearly half his age and was a volunteer in Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential campaign.
CNN White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny tweeted Tuesday, "The stunning defeat of @JoeCrowleyNY is a fresh reminder that one of the biggest political stories (getting far less attention than it deserves, with Trump consuming so much oxygen) is the major identity crisis underway inside the Democratic Party".
Ms Ocasio-Cortez ran in NY as a working-class daughter of an immigrant, casting Mr Crowley as elitist and out of touch with the community.
(Corbin Trent, the co-director of Justice Democrats who also served as Ocasio-Cortez's communications director, spent weeks trying-mostly without success-to interest reporters in the campaign.) But if the movement is going to become a powerful electoral force-as opposed to an every-four-years guilty bystander-its leaders need to start taking seriously, and acting on, the Sanders campaign slogan: "Not Me, Us".
In the run-up to Tuesday's election, Ocasio-Cortez, the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a father from the South Bronx, said, "What I want the party and people all over the country to know is that my campaign represents authentic, accountable racial and social justice".
Lopez-Pierre was first flagged by Twitter user Leo Greenberg, who recognized the volunteer as he stood behind Ocasio-Cortez while giving an interview to a local NY reporter.
One of the ways she's hoping to protect her community once elected to Congress?
"I was born in a place where your zip code determined your destiny", the political newcomer said in her viral campaign video.
But Ocasio-Cortez instead framed her campaign as a return to the party's roots.
Early Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez was being hailed as the "new face of progressive politics". Driven nearly entirely by young people, the campaign brought together seasoned activists, many of them DSA members, with people newly energised by Alexandria's passionate championing of progressive ideals: "universal healthcare, abolishing ICE and taxing the rich".
Trump got just 20 percent of the vote in the district, which contains parts of Queens and the Bronx.
A day later, a more poised Ocasio-Cortez seems to have moved on from shock to ambition.
"The fundamental thing we saw in New York-14 is, are you responding to your changing community?" But after 20 years of the same representation, we have to ask: "who has NY been changing for?" she asks in a promotional video for her campaign.
She never doubted her chances.
Like Sanders, she considers herself a democratic socialist.
"That's open season", she said.
If Democrats take over the House, Pelosi and other leaders will likely be rewarded, he said. "I knew that it was long odds, and I knew that it was uphill, but I always knew it was possible".
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