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Former President Barack Obama released a list of over 100 candidates he’s supporting for elected office this November, but notably, controversial freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was not on the list.
In a statement issued Monday, Obama listed 118 Democrats he was supporting for federal, state, and statewide legislative contests from 17 states including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Nevada.
“I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic and highly qualified Democrats,” Obama said. “Together, these candidates will help us redeem our country’s promise by sticking up for working people, restoring fairness and opportunity to our system, and fighting for the good of all Americans — not just those at the top.”
I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic, and highly qualified Democrats. If you’re in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall. And if you can, vote early—by mail or in person. https://t.co/PSm3Rf3wkF pic.twitter.com/7RXrJriBz8
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 3, 2020
Obama added that the group he’s endorsing make him “optimistic not just about our party’s chances in November but about our country’s future so long after that.”
“So if you’re in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall,” Obama added. “And if you can, vote early — by mail or in person.”
When she ran in 2018, Obama also initially did not offer his support to Ocasio-Cortez after she defeated then-House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley, a 10-term congressman who was widely considered to be in the running for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s job at some point in the future.
The presidential snub was widely noted then, as now.
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been jilted by President Obama,” Liz Peek wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “The former president recently announced 81 endorsements of candidates running in the midterm elections. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, toast of the progressive movement, did not make the cut.”
In a statement from nearly two years ago to the day, Obama noted he was endorsing 81 Democrats — including two from New York not nicknamed “AOC.”
“I am proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates—leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” Obama said at the time.
“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity that’s broadly shared, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility and the rule of law.”
Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent: pic.twitter.com/gWzalQhFas
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 1, 2018
Regarding this year’s endorsements, the president made clear he doesn’t believe that Ocasio-Cortez is the face of the Democratic Party’s future — at least at this point.
Obama’s office said the former president selected candidates because he believed their election to public office would “advance key goals,” including winning control of the U.S. Senate, holding the majority in the House, electing Democrats who will “support fair redistricting in 2021,” and promoting “diverse, emerging leaders for this time.”
Some of the 110 candidates the former president is endorsing this year were members of his two campaigns and/or his administration.
His office said the ex-president will be issuing another set of endorsements in the fall after the remaining primaries are completed.
“Our country’s future hangs on this election, and it won’t be easy,” he said. “But pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real, and what is important.
“Elections matter,” he added. “And we need Americans of all political stripes to get involved in our politics and our public life like never before.”
Notably, Obama endorsed Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal who defeated long-serving incumbent Rep. Eliot Engle.
Ocasio-Cortez backed Bowman as well.
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