Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Tuesday announced her endorsement for progressive New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D) in her primary bid to unseat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) in a controversial House district created by New York’s redistricting maps.
“Through hard work, Alessandra was able to break through and deliver a series of progressive wins for New York State,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “Now, she’s ready to take her leadership to Congress where I know she’ll continue fighting for working people.”
Ocasio-Cortez had arrived in Congress after winning a primary challenge of her own, unseating Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), the then-chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement marks a sharp rebuke against Maloney, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Maloney drew criticism from fellow Democrats when he announced last month he would run in New York’s 17th Congressional District shortly after the new map was announced.
Unlike the more centrist Maloney, Jones is seen as close to left-wing Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez previously called on Maloney to resign as head of the DCCC if he were to take on Jones in a primary.
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Maloney played down Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to intervene in the race, maintaining that “this election comes down to voters in NY-17.”
“I respect Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and have worked with her on a number of policy matters, including as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal,” Maloney said. “But, on her endorsement, we are going to have to agree to disagree. This election comes down to voters in NY-17, and I am honored to have received overwhelming support locally, including endorsements from nearly 40 elected leaders and Democratic Party committees.”
In a statement following the public announcement of the endorsement, Biaggi lauded Ocasio-Cortez as the “standard-bearer” of the Democratic Party. She also slammed Maloney’s decision to run in the 17th District, noting that as DCCC chairman, “his job is to maximize the number of seats that we have in the Democratic majority.”
“We want a champion in Congress that will fight for all of us — not a corporate Democrat like Sean Patrick Maloney who puts his donors’ interests ahead of ours,” Biaggi said. “Representative Ocasio-Cortez and I know our party will be strongest when Democrats stop letting corporate donors set the political agenda and start fighting for working people — and that’s why I am thrilled she is backing our campaign.”
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