U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may not be known as the most strategic member of the Democratic Party, but her cutthroat politics are what landed her a congressional seat, to begin with, and now she may be eyeing a promotion.
In her few short years on Capitol Hill, Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most recognizable figures in Congress often through shameless self-promotion and shilling for leftist movements. While her deep blue district in New York could see her become a lasting fixture in permanent Washington’s lower chamber, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) may well be faced with a primary challenge from the upstart “Squad” member.
During an interview with Politico, the 33-year-old New York lawmaker played coy when questioned on the possibility of going head-to-head with the sitting junior senator to hold the seat that propelled former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toward her first presidential race.
“In a lengthy recent interview in her Capitol Hill office, Ocasio-Cortez wouldn’t rule out any number of options, from challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) next year (‘don’t ask me that question … print that,’ she said with a laugh), to remaining in the House for the long haul or, perhaps, leaving Congress entirely,” the article read.
“There’s a world where I’m here for a long time in this seat, in this position. There’s a world where I’m not an elected official anymore. There’s a world where … I may be in higher office,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Gillibrand had already announced her intention to run for a third full term, having first been elected during a special election upon Clinton’s resignation, and told The New York Times in January, “I love being senator of New York, and I think my ability to deliver for our state has never been greater.”
Of course, the congresswoman need not launch a serious campaign against Gillibrand to flex her influential muscle as she had previously danced around a similar challenge to Senate Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of the 2022 primary filing deadline, which seemed to be enough to encourage him to join the progressive bandwagon in an attack against oil companies for increased gas prices as President Joe Biden refused to ramp up domestic energy production.
Progressives find new culprit in high gas prices and Schumer, fearing AOC primary, dutifully falls in line https://t.co/S8dE4lnehl pic.twitter.com/nEqEy6YgjX
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 20, 2022
As it was then, a challenge like this from AOC would be no surprise considering her initial entry into Congress came through a primary upset against then-Rep. Joe Crowley who not only had served the 14th Congressional District for 20 years but had been the House Democratic Caucus Chair.
Furthermore, Crowley had been considered a favorite to succeed then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for third in line to the presidency, marking her as no ally to the status quo in D.C.
Whatever her intentions, Ocasio-Cortez defended her record and used it as an opportunity to demonize the other side of the aisle when she told Politico, “There are people, including moderates, who sometimes try to draw this completely unfair, false equivalence between progressives and, frankly, the fascists that we see in the Republican Party.”
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