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“Seeing the corruption on the local level from the Queens Democratic Party broke the facade of how I viewed Democrats at large once I saw how they tried to suppress [U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Jackson Heights)] and her efforts,” said Haby. “When U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders came to that rally and [former district attorney candidate] Tiffany Cabán said ‘just run, just run for something – it was his message of just go for it and the idea of if I’m going to fight hard for myself I can also fight hard for strangers.
After the meeting, Nick Haby, a member of the New Reformers and candidate for district leader, who was protesting outside when the vote was taking place, criticized the outsized influence of Meeks’ preference on the vote for district leader. He also poked holes in the process, saying that the portion of the 72 district leaders who showed up for a rushed vote didn’t represent a rigorous enough effort to engage Queens voters. “That’s not democracy,” said Haby.
Nick Haby, sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with a rainbow Ocasio-Cortez logo, recalled the moment when his enthusiasm for Crowley waned: When the Congressman launched an alienating attack on his opponent. "He said, 'Alexandria likes to make this election all about race," Haby recalled. Crowley followed that with, "It's not my fault that I'm born white," Haby said, calling it "a very tone deaf comment coming from a man of power and privilege, specifically white privilege." As a person of color himself, Haby couldn't abide that.
Nick Haby, an Astoria resident and member of machine-linked Democratic clubs, broke with Crowley in early June after Crowley suggested to Haby that his whiteness was being held against him. He became one of Ocasio-Cortez’s most outspoken volunteers. “Almost every person I talked to while canvassing for Alex had an excitement and enthusiasm for her that I did not see in the people supporting Joe Crowley,” Haby said.
Haby said that while he left the event disinclined to vote for Crowley, the next day’s news solidified his decision: Crowley endorsed New York state Sen. Jose Peralta for another term. Peralta had been a member of the Independent Democratic Conference — a group of Democrats who caucused with Republicans to deny Democrats a majority in the chamber. Peralta later rejoined the caucus, and Crowley has said he endorsed Peralta in response to his change of heart.