Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responds to possible primary challengers: They're "getting totally fleeced"

New York Democrats are reportedly plotting revenge after AOC's surprise primary win against a veteran Democrat

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 30, 2019 9:11AM (EST)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AP/Susan Walsh)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AP/Susan Walsh)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is swiping back after an article quoted anonymous sources claiming that they are seeking a primary opponent against her in 2020.

In a piece by Scott Wong of The Hill, an anonymous Democratic lawmaker said that "what I have recommended to the New York delegation is that you find her a primary opponent and make her a one-term congressperson. You’ve got numerous council people and state legislators who’ve been waiting 20 years for that seat. I’m sure they can find numerous people who want that seat in that district."

Another person described as a "New York political insider" is quoted as saying, "She’s pissing off a lot of people and has probably made a lot of enemies. … A lot of people who are furious with her are Joe’s allies, including some named Crowley. She is a woman. She’s been moving more to the left. She would be someone interesting."

The "someone named Crowley" was a reference to Crowley’s cousin Elizabeth Crowley, a former New York City councilwoman, who has said that she would like to run for Queens borough president.

In one post that retweeted The Hill piece's author Scott Wong, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that an anonymous source from the article complained "'You've got councilpeople who've been waiting 20 yrs for that seat,' That broken mentality, that public office is something you wait in line for, instead of earning through hard organizing, is exactly what voters want to change. Shows you how disconnected some folks here are."

In a follow-up tweet responding to another one of Wong's posts, Ocasio-Cortez added that "whoever is paying this 'Veteran NY Dem Strategist' is getting totally fleeced ?"

Ocasio-Cortez also retweeted two other posts that supported her in the aftermath of The Hill's article. One was from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who wrote that "it’s amazing how threatened some people are by clever young women - @AOC has only just been elected and this article suggests that some in her party are already planning to oust her, just because she’s rocking the boat. More power to her." The second was from New York Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, Esq. who tweeted that ".@DailyCaller clearly doesnt have a fact checking department- ya’ll over there gossiping and we are over here doing the work @AOC #HermanasEnLaLucha #NiceTryTho."

A campaign spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez was also quoted in The Hill, saying that "we believe in primaries as an idea. We’re not upset by the idea of being primaried. We are not going to go out there being anti-primary — they are good for party."

He added, "If voters in the district feel that they can be better represented, that will be their choice on primary day. In the meantime, we’re going to be doing our dead-level best to make sure we are representing the needs and the will of our constituents."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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