Seven Republicans Queue Up To Run Against Ocasio-Cortez In 2020
It’ll be an uphill battle, but already seven Republicans are preparing to challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2020.
The former bartender went from rags to riches when she knocked off Rep. Joseph Crowley, then the House’s fourth most powerful Democrat and considered a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. While the New York district — part of the Bronx and part of north-central Queens — is highly liberal and roughly half Latino and Hispanic, Crowley says AOC is “vulnerable” in 2020.
“I do think that she’s probably most vulnerable in a first re-election,” said Crowley, who served 10 terms in Congress.
Republicans know that.
“She’s fired everyone up,” Rey Solano, a 2020 challenger, told Politico. “She’s really annoyed a lot of people.”
“The standard-bearer of socialism in America is in CD 14,” Ruth Papazian, another candidate, told the D.C.-based publication. “If you’re going to stop the spread of socialism, and especially the encroachment of socialism throughout the outer boroughs, you have to stop [Ocasio-Cortez].”
Republicans will have plenty to target. The Democratic socialist has been pushing socialist plans since she took office and, more locally, she helped scuttle a deal with Amazon that would have brought thousands of jobs to her district and other boroughs of New York City.
Few of the candidates have raised much money (Papazian leads the pack with $10,632 raised). Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez has raised more than $1.9 million in just the first half of the year, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
While acknowledging the uphill battle, a number of the challengers are banking on the eventual Republican nominee getting an infusion of help from national Republicans looking to give the polarizing politician a run for her money. The sheer spectacle of the race is likely to draw no shortage of free media as well.
“By simply running against her, whether or not you have a real shot, it’s going to get you attention,” said Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College. “All these people see it as a way to make a name for themselves on the Republican side.”
Papazian expects the Republican party to devote significant resources to the race, despite it being seemingly unwinnable. “I doubt the state and national GOP is going to sit idly by and allow AOC to be re-elected. I think this is going to be a marquee race,” he said.
On the other hand, Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by a 6 to 1 margin. In the 2018 election, AOC defeated the Republican challenger 78% to 14%. Hillary Clinton won the district with 77% of the vote.
Crowley said Ocasio-Cortez may face a challenge in her own party, saying “I suspect she probably will, but I don’t have certitude on that,” the Washington Examiner reported.
AOC has vowed to help push out less progressive Democrats, targeting them in primaries and general elections. But she may face an intra-party battle as well.
“At least one House Democrat has been privately urging members of the New York delegation to recruit a local politician from the Bronx or Queens to challenge Ocasio-Cortez,” The Hill reported.
“What I have recommended to the New York delegation is that you find her a primary opponent and make her a one-term congressperson,” the Democratic lawmaker, who requested anonymity, told The Hill. “You’ve got numerous council people and state legislators who’ve been waiting 20 years for that seat. I’m sure they can find numerous people who want that seat in that district.”
… [O]ne New York political insider noted that the Queens and Bronx district is home to many ambitious pols who are close to Crowley and don’t like that a political outsider took his seat.
“She’s pissing off a lot of people and has probably made a lot of enemies. … A lot of people who are furious with her are Joe’s allies, including some named Crowley,” said the insider, referring to Crowley’s cousin, Elizabeth Crowley, a former New York City councilwoman. “She is a woman. She’s been moving more to the left. She would be someone interesting.”