Despite being in Congress for just under four months, several Republicans are already lining up to challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who has become arguably one of the country's most controversial lawmakers, for her seat in Congress in November 2020.
What are the details?
Although mounting a successful challenge against Ocasio-Cortez would prove politically difficult because New York's 14th Congressional District is deeply progressive, Republicans clearly spot opportunity on the horizon.
According to the New York Post, at least one Republican has already declared a candidacy while two others are seriously exploring launching their own campaigns. And at least one wealthy political donor has already declared intentions to fuel Ocasio-Cortez's political opponents.
"There's definitely national energy and money on this race," Bronx Republican chairman Mike Rendino told The Post. Rendino did not disclose the donor's name, but said the donor is worth several hundred million dollars.
The Republicans looking to challenge Ocasio-Cortez are:
- Egyptian-American journalist Ruth Papazian
- Former NYPD Officer John Cummings, who now teaches high school civics
- Rich Valdes, a radio producer for Mark Levin
Papazian has already entered the 2020 race, The Post reported. She threw her hat into the ring last month in response to Ocasio-Cortez's public push against Amazon, which had announced New York City as a location for its second location, but later withdrew plans after pushback from local leaders.
Papazian is running as a pro-jobs candidate.
"[Ocasio-Cortez] completely ignores the people in this district," Papazian told The Post. "I've lived here my whole life. I know the heart and soul of this community. The people here have scratched and clawed their way into the middle class, and they're not about to be impoverished with the high taxes it will take to make the Green New Deal and Medicare for All."
While Papazian has yet to formally establish a fundraising arm for her campaign, sources told The Post that Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, has expressed interest in working with Papazian.
Meanwhile, Valdes, who launched a formal exploratory committee in February, told The Post that Ocasio-Cortez has so far mimicked her predecessor, former Rep. Joe Crowley (D), by playing politics in Washington despite telling voters she would represent their interests.
"They're really, really kind of discouraged at the fact that she was elected on this platform of representing the district because she ran against [former Rep. Joe] Crowley, positing him as being no-show, and she'd turned out to be very much the same way a no-show person," Valdes said.
Cummings, who is also only in the exploratory stages of a campaign, echoed Valdes.
"She's only interested in a national platform, and we need local representation," he told The Post.
What did AOC say?
Corbin Trent, spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, pushed back against claims that his boss has not been present in her district.
"I couldn't disagree more with people who are suggesting that the congresswoman isn't present enough in the district," he told The Post. "She's done town halls, community board meetings, been available for office hours, she's sat with activists and organizers and had a very strong presence in the district."