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Will The Primary Challenger Get A Primary Challenge?

Previously, CNN Contributor Laura Bassett completely missed the mark on why Conservatives object to freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). I wonder how she’ll spin the objections from Democrat colleagues being reported in The Hill:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has infuriated colleagues by aligning with a progressive outside group that’s threatening to primary entrenched Democrats. Now some of those lawmakers are turning the tables on her and are discussing recruiting a primary challenger to run against the social media sensation.

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.

Scott Wong, The Hill, 1/29/2016

Ocasio-Cortez has willingly become the poster girl for the Justice Democrats. Their platform is openly socialist and all about government control of industry, healthcare, jobs guarantees and paying for advanced education. Her face adorns their website and a recent eight-minute interview with the group revealed quite a bit:

  • She questions the difference between Democrats and Republicans
  • We learn she was recruited to run by the group
  • She describes herself as “movement first” aligning herself with the Justice Democrat’s platform
  • She nods and says “Um-hmmm” when one of the activists said the Justice Democrats have the ability to transform the Democratic party by runing primary challengers against Democrat incumbents

Obviously, that last bullet point is concerning some members of the Democrat caucus. Clearly, the Justice Democrats are both willing and capable of running primary challenges and they were 50% successful the first cycle they tried. Both Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) mounted successful primary challenges.

Part of the problem is the Justice Democrats are also naming names. Reports are surfacing that the group may target the following Democrat incumbents:

  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
  • Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY)

Note two of these members are from Ocasio-Cortez’s own state delegation. Nobody has said she is exceptionally bright, but that is pretty stupid.

For her part, Ocasio-Cortez has denied any activities to identify primary challengers to run against members of the New York delegation. Perhaps being a member of the House for a whole three weeks now, she is getting a sense that her victory may have been more of a fluke than a genuine mandate.

And members of the New York delegation seem to be taking her at her word, for now.

“We are going to see what happens. Generally for me, I’m giving folks the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence. You might say one thing before you get in here, and then after you get to meet folks, you see what happens and how the body works … things are different, so we’ll see what happens,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), whose district includes part of Queens, said in an interview.

“I can only tell you that the times I’ve spoken to her, and at the times she’s been at the New York delegation meetings, she’s been cooperative and wants to be a team player. That’s what she said, so you gotta take her at her word until something changes,” Meeks added.

The Hill, January 29, 2019

From the outside looking in, it seems like the young congresswoman is playing both sides. Sitting down with the Justice Democrats she appears to be all in on their plans to remake Congress. Her House colleagues report she is giving them a different message. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

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