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AOC goes scorched earth on Dem Party leadership after far-left candidate fails to defeat incumbent

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took aim at her party's leadership after progressive attorney Jessica Cisneros failed to defeat Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) in a runoff election.

Just 175 votes separate Cisneros and Cuellar after Tuesday's runoff election, leading Cuellar to declare victory. However, Cisneros may still close the gap with mail-in ballots that still need to be counted. She has not conceded, and could request a recount given the tight election result.

The race has not officially been called.

What did AOC say?

Ocasio-Cortez blasted Democratic Party leaders for continuing to support Cuellar. Progressive Democrats have worked tirelessly to put Cisneros in a position to defeat Cuellar, but it looks like it may not have been enough.

"On the day of a mass shooting and weeks after news of Roe, Democratic Party leadership rallied for a pro-NRA, anti-choice incumbent under investigation in a close primary. Robocalls, fundraisers, all of it. Accountability isn’t partisan. This was an utter failure of leadership," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Cuellar has served in Congress since 2005, and is one of the last remaining truly moderate Democrats. Cuellar is anti-abortion, has repeatedly called out President Joe Biden over the border crisis, and for most of his political career has enjoyed an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.

In her Twitter tirade, Ocasio-Cortez added that "Congress should not be an incumbent protection racket" and declared that "those who fail their communities deserve to lose." However, she did not specify how exactly Cuellar has failed his community. One would think that Cuellar has done the opposite if he has managed to be re-elected so many times.

But according to Ocasio-Cortez, the only reason Cuellar may win the runoff is because of Democratic Party leadership.

"TX28 is an extremely close race. If Cuellar wins, leadership’s decision to go to the mat for a pro-NRA incumbent will be the reason why. If Cisneros pulls it out, they will have mobilized against a badly needed grassroots for Nov & fought against a historic victory," she said.

What did others say?

Other vocal progressive politicians, like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also spoke out Tuesday against Cuellar and Democratic Party leaders for supporting him.

"We don't need a member of Congress with a top-rating by the NRA to block any gun safety legislation, or someone who votes against Roe v. Wade. We need someone like Jessica," Warren told Politico.

Sanders, meanwhile, said he was disappointed the Democratic Party worked "alongside a corporate PAC to defeat a young woman who is a strong progressive ... in support of the most reactionary Democrat in the U.S. House."

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