Tuesday night, Holtzman couldn't help but think of that moment as she watched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pull off an equally implausible victory.
Last night, the 14th congressional district of NY saw one of the largest surprises in the state's congressional primary history, as a 28-year-old Latina woman, named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, who had previously held his congressional seat for 10 terms. She also supports immigration reform - specifically abolishing ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency now enforcing the Trump Administration's family separation and detainment policies at the U.S. -Mexico border.
"The message that we send the world tonight is that it's not OK to put donors before your community", Ocasio-Cortez said in her victory speech, CNN reported. She said, "I believe that in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live".
Congressman Joe Crowley is the current Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, making him the fourth highest ranked Democrat in the House of Representatives. Should she win the general election in November, an all-but-inevitable assumption given the heavy Democratic-leaning NY-14 district, she'll become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Crowley, who relishes identifying himself as "a guy from Queens" outspent Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx native, 18-1.
"I'm an organizer in this community, and I knew living here and being here and seeing and organizing with families here, that it was possible", Ocasio-Cortez after her victory.
Crowley blew off two debates with Ocasio-Cortez, earning him a scathing critique in the New York Times. In a recent campaign video, she says, "This race is about people versus money". "A year ago she was a bartender riding the train", he says. "You have given this country hope, you have given this country proof that when you knock on your neighbor's door, when you come to them with love, when you let them know that no matter your stance, you are there for them - that we can make change". "She demonstrated once again what progressive grassroots politics can do".
"We're a district that covers the Bronx and Queens and Rikers Island", she told USA news outlet Mic during her campaign. "This is why we must come together", said Mr Crowley after his defeat. She noted that Nixon and others face barriers male candidates rarely see. It was a trip to Standing Rock in 2016 that ultimately pushed her to take the chance and run in her longtime district. Crowley, and Irish-American party organization man (he is chairman of the Queens Democratic Party), is like a holdover from a different era of NY politics. "The real highlight of her campaign was just how genuine she was".
"So many people would talk about Sandy and how great she was", she said.
"For me, that was clear right away", Elmore said. "People around the country, everywhere I go, are helping us elect more Democrats, progressives, women, people of color".