By Bill Parry
Former President Barack Obama endorsed progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her campaign against Republican Anthony Pappas in the 14th Congressional District, which covers much of western Queens and parts of her home-borough, the Bronx.
Ocasio-Cortez was not included in Obama’s first round of endorsements in August just over a month after the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist stunned U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) in June’s Democratic primary.
Crowley was the fourth-ranked Democrat in the House with nearly two decades and was considered a frontrunner for Speaker of the House if Democrats regained a majority in the House and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stepped aside.
Ocasio-Cortez supporters believed their insurgent candidate was snubbed by Obama for her ties to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). Ocasio-Cortez had served as an organizer for Sanders’ Presidential campaign in 2016.
That all changed Monday when Ocasio-Cortez was included on the list of more than 200 candidates for state and federal seats that received Obama’s support in next month’s midterm elections.
“The Democratic Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we lead with conviction, principle, and bold new ideas. Our incredible array of candidates up and down the ticket, all across the country, make up a movement of citizens who are younger, more diverse, more females than ever before,” Obama said in a statement. “They’re Americans who aren’t just running against something, but for something. They’re running to expand opportunity and restore the honor and compassion that should be the essence of public service. I’m proud to endorse so many of them today, and I’m eager to continue making the case for why they deserve our votes this November.”
Ocasio-Cortez thanked the former president on Twitter saying, “Time to bring it home this November. Help us organize for healthcare, education, and justice for all.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she was honored to receive Obama’s endorsement.
“I’m grateful to have his voice contributing to the blue wave that will sweep across America in November to take back both the House and the Senate,” she said. “It is a particular honor to be endorsed alongside my sister and brother candidates Ayanna Pressley, Ammar Campa-Najjar and Adrienne Bell as we fight to provide healthcare, economic dignity, and justice for all.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr