AOC avoids City Council endorsements: The New York Congresswoman, whose endorsement has been valuable in the past, has elected not to endorse any candidates in the current City Council races in New York
AOC Is Going Into Political Hiding?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been a prominent figure ever since she was first elected to Congress in 2018, after knocking off a long-term Democratic incumbent who was part of the party leadership.
In that time, the Congresswoman’s endorsement has often been sought-after, even if it doesn’t always lead to victory. Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Bernie Sanders for president in late 2019 and has occasionally waded into local races in New York. And sometimes beyond- earlier this year, she endorsed former Councilwoman Helen Gym for mayor of Philadelphia, and Gym went on to finish third in a crowded Democratic primary.
Now, however, the New York Times is reporting that Ocasio-Cortez has not endorsed any candidates for New York City Council. Her political action committee, Courage to Change, has “gone dormant,” the Times said.
Early voting is underway, with primary election day set for June 27.
The Congresswoman’s website lists nine Council endorsements, but those appear to be left over from the 2021 race, with June 22 (the 2021 election day) listed as the day instead of June 27. Also, per the Times, AOC’s advisers have “warned campaigns not to recycle past statements of support.”
As noted by the Times, and listed on the website, endorsements were determined by candidates receiving a perfect score on the “Courage to Change” pledge, in which they were asked their positions on a series of issues, including “prioritizing workers,” “investing in infrastructure,” “championing environmental justice,” and “reimagining public safety.”
“Our team will be in touch about any endorsements the congresswoman plans to make in the 2023 cycle,” someone from AOC’s PAC told candidates earlier this year, the Times reported. “But in the meantime, please do not use Courage to Change PAC or A.O.C. branding in your current materials.”
Why the change?
Per the newspaper, “allies say it also reflects Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s evolution from an insurgent intent on pushing in a new generation of revolutionary leaders to a more conventional Democratic figure buffeted by electoral realities, prioritizing her growing duties in Washington and wary of overextending her political capital.”
The Times also said that AOC fired her campaign manager, following a “scathing” ethics report involving the Congresswoman’s attendance at the Met Gala in 2021. At the event, Ocasio-Cortez drew headlines for wearing a white dress that read “Tax the Rich” in red paint across the back.
The report came out in May, and stated that Ocasio-Cortez “may have accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” and that “If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
AOC, in various public comments, has stated that had decided to pay for all attire and services associated with her attendance at the gala, and that she had tasked a staffer with paying all vendors for those services, but that this had not happened in a timely fashion.
“I just never, ever, ever would have allowed that to happen knowing what I have learned, but that I wasn’t privy to the invoices, wasn’t privy to the ones that had been sent,” AOC said in a statement back in March. “And it is just a deeply regrettable situation. I feel terrible for especially the small businesses that were impacted.”
Considering how many people in politics, in both parties, aren’t fans of AOC, it’s surprising that the ethics issue involving the “Tax the Rich” dress hasn’t gotten more media attention, with not much reporting about it appearing since March.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.