Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) quickly became a household name across the United States since her election in 2018, after defeating 10-time incumbent Joe Crowley, but now she faces staunch competition herself.
Challengers have risen in both the general election and Democratic primary for District 14. Both sides are leveraging their positions as moderate alternatives to Ocasio-Cortez, attacking her socialist principles.
The first hurdle she faces in keeping her seat is in the primary, against Moderate-Democrat Fernando Cabrera (D-Bronx). Cabrera has been on the offensive, attacking her identity as a socialist while boasting his own as a moderate.
He has served as a city councilman since 2010 and has a track record of supporting gun control and housing rights for tenants.
Ocasio-Cortez has not shied away from the challenge, however, she has dwarfed her opponent in fundraising, with $5,379,749.22 raised as of Dec. 31, according to the Financial Election Commission’s website.
It is also worth mentioning that the vast majority of her fundraising came in the form of contributions of $200 or less.
This feeds into her status as an “outsider,” being that most of these contributions come from individuals as opposed to PACs or parties. She has, however, received a sizable sum from ActBlue, a grassroots fundraising software company that has donated to her campaign over 103,000 times with varying contributions from $1 to over $5,000.
Her opponent has only raised $30,268.39, but he has received a contribution from the Democratic National Convention, which Ocasio-Cortez has not.
If she overcomes the initial primary challenge, there are quite a few Republicans waiting in the wings for her. Though a predominantly Democrat district, voting 78.2% in her favor in her 2018 run, her challengers all feel that they could take her down.
This challenger has taken the form of John Cummings, a former NYPD officer and teacher. He has already secured backing from the New York Conservative Party and has raised the second-most among all candidates in the District 14 election, Democrat and Republican.
“This race has both local and national implications. Alexandria Cortez’ socialistic response to a myriad of issues should be of concern to all Americans who value freedom, individualism and our nation’s entrepreneurial traditions,” the New York Conservative Party stated in a press release after formally backing him as the Republican candidate.
“Her desire to occupy a national stage has resulted in her district lacking a representative who is responsive to local issues and problems. John Cummings election will make a difference to the Bronx and Queens. It will also send a message to the nation that common sense conservatives have a place in urban communities,” it went on to say.
As it stands, Ocasio-Cortez is the heavy favorite for when elections come around, but so was Crowley when she unseated him. Her opponents may have institutional backing from their respective parties, but she has, much like her 2018 campaign, grassroots support.