Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday that business support for her New York Democratic primary challenger is a sign she has made the right enemies in Washington.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who is challenging Ocasio-Cortez for her Queens-based seat. The primary election is scheduled for June 23.
“There is a lot of Wall Street interest in unseating a member that holds Wall Street accountable,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an online interview with Politico. “Sometimes you are defined by your friends and sometimes you are defined by the people who come after you.”
Ocasio-Cortez has raised $2.7 million for her re-election in the last quarter, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Caruso-Cabrera’s campaign told the New York Post she has raised $1 million during the same period.
Ocasio-Cortez came to Congress after defeating longtime incumbent Joe Crowley, a member of House Democratic leadership, in a 2018 primary. She quickly established herself as a critic of the banking industry from her perch on the House Financial Services Committee and became a prominent force pushing for a Green New Deal and Medicare for all.
Her initial clashes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders over major legislation led some moderate House Democrats to distance themselves from Ocasio-Cortez last year.
She told Politico that she is focused on her re-election and isn’t thinking now about the possibility of running for the Senate against Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York when he is up for re-election in 2022. She didn’t rule it out when given the chance to, however.
The congresswoman said there should be no financial limits to the money Congress should spend to recover from the coronavirus crisis, including on expanding Medicare. The crisis underscores the need for a higher federal minimum wage, she said.
“I don’t think there is a figure out there that is too much,” she said. “I think we are going to have to make the New Deal look normal or even small.”
Ocasio-Cortez said her staff is in talks with former Vice President Joe Biden’s team about endorsing his presidential bid, and that she is seeking commitments from him on climate change, immigration, health care and support for Puerto Rico.
— With assistance by Bill Allison
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