U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has only been in office a few months but there is already talk of some big money set to help unseat her reelection bid.
The political waves made by the Democratic socialist since taking office have apparently triggered an early challenge from some Republican opponents in her home district in New York, as well as an unknown multimillionaire donor who is ready to back one of them, according to the New York Post.
Bronx Republican Chairman Mike Rendino “has been in touch with a mega-bucks donor hell-bent on getting AOC tossed,” the Post reported.
“There’s definitely national energy and money on this race,” he said.
And while Rendino would not reveal the name of the mystery donor, he indicated that the individual is “worth over $200 million, plus [has] connections to raise money in Manhattan.”
A GOP challenger to the freshman congresswoman would be able to “raise real national money,” Tom Doherty, former senior advisor to Governor George Pataki, noted.
“We need to put individuals forward and make the incumbent work for re-election,” Doherty said.
Egyptian American medical journalist, Ruth Papazian, has already decided to run against Ocasio-Cortez next year, criticizing the 29-year-old lawmaker for her stand against Amazon’s controversial plan to build a headquarters in New York City, according to the New York Post. Amazon cancelled its proposed site, and the prospect of 25,000 jobs, in February after fierce opposition.
“People need jobs. We don’t have economic diversity in the outer boroughs,” Papazian, a 61-year-old Bronx Republican said, adding that Ocasio-Cortez “chose ideology over paychecks.”
She plans to run her campaign as a pro-jobs candidate and believes Ocasio-Cortez is too far left for her Bronx-Queens district.
Papazian and the other potential GOP challengers – a former New York City Police Officer and a conservative talk-radio producer – accuse Ocasio-Cortez of neglecting her mostly Democratic district which did not see an office open for the congresswoman until she had been in office already for two months.
“She completely ignores the people in this district,” Papazian told The Post of the progressive darling who won the 14th Congressional District with more than 78 percent of the vote, crushing ten-term incumbent Congressman and Democratic Caucus Chair, Joe Crowley.
“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,” she added.
Papazian, who is the only Republican to commit to a run against Ocasio-Cortez, lives locally with her 85-year-old mother in the same apartment she grew up in since her family came from Egypt in 1956.
President Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was reportedly “encouraging and offered to be helpful when Ruth has demonstrated that she can raise enough money for a serious race,” a source told the newspaper.
Former NYPD Officer John Cummings, who is currently a high school civics teacher, has been reportedly in talks with Rendino about a possible run against Ocasio-Cortez.
“I know it’s a difficult road because this is a heavily democratic district,” he told The Post, echoing the criticism that the lawmaker ignores her district.
“She’s only interested in a national platform, and we need local representation,” the 58-year-old said.
“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 Crowley, positing him as being no-show, and she’d turned out to be very much the same way a no-show person,” Rich Valdes, a producer for radio’s “The Mark Levin Show,” said.
The 40-year-old potential contender worked for former NJ Gov. Chris Christie and has been speaking with local Republicans as well as floating an exploratory committee in February.
Though it is not yet known how many more Republicans may join Papazian in a challenge to Ocasio-Cortez, but a mystery donor willing to back up a contender could have a significant impact in what will likely be an attention-getting campaign.