AOC Sits on the Sidelines in New York City Council Races – Usually, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, is front and center in New York City politics.
Her Courage to Change political action committee backed 60 candidates during the 2021 election cycle.
Where Is AOC?
New Yorkers will go to the polls next week to vote for city council and AOC has been absent. She has not endorsed any candidates.
Until now it was largely believed that she actively wanted to recruit more Left-wing candidates and build a grassroots political army.
However, speculation suggests that she is becoming an establishment figure within the Democratic Party. She has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Senate against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s lackluster Democratic incumbent.
AOC also has prioritized her work in Washington over her involvement in local New York politics. She has become a key player in the Democratic caucus in Washington and has worked to forge ties with House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
“If we called on her for support in the future, I’m sure that she would definitely step in,” said Chi Ossé, a Brooklyn councilman and Ocasio-Cortez ally, told The New York Times. “But she’s very focused and busy on what’s happening in Washington right now.”
A spokeswoman told The Times that she was weighing whether or not to get involved. She also was heavily involved in supporting a socialist candidate in a Queens New York state Senate race during the midterms last year.
Historically, members of New York’s congressional delegation have become involved in throwing their weight around in the city’s 51-member city council. However, Ocasio-Cortez went beyond that in 2021 by endorsing candidates outside of her Queens/East Bronx district.
She has been an upstart figure since she upset 20-year incumbent Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary in 2018.
AOC Wins Republican Respect in Washington
AOC has found resistance to her policies at home and has found unlikely allies in Washington where she has made a name for herself.
“A lot of the luster of A.O.C.’s endorsement has really gone out the window,” New York political operative Jack Leb told The Times. “The more she endorses candidates, and loses, it devalues her.”
Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., joined with Ocasio-Cortez last month to push legislation to bar members of Congress from engaging in insider trading.
“AOC is wrong a lot — she’d probably say the same thing about me — but she’s not corrupt,” Gaetz told Fox News last month. “And I will work with anyone and everyone to ensure that Congress is not so compromised.”
Gaetz is not the only Republican who she has reached across the aisle with.
Tennessee Republican Rep. Tim Burchett called AOC his friend and said she was his “friendly neighborhood Marxist” amid the blanketing of the East Coast with smoke from Canada’s wildfires.
Ocasio-Cortez also has won the respect of at least one GOP leader.
“She maximizes her five minutes as well as anyone in Congress,” Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., told Politico about his view of Ocasio-Cortez’s handling of her allotted time to question committee witnesses. “She’s always prepared.”
AOC Subject of Controversy
She has dodged questions from her constituents on her votes in favor of military aid to Ukraine and on open borders.
At the same time, she has had to fight back against an ethics complaint that found that she improperly accepted gifts in her attendance at the 2021 Met Gala during which she wore a gown emblazoned with “Tax the Rich.”
Whether or not she gets involved in local races this time around she will remain a political force both in Washington and nationally.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.a