Dec 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Why AOC lost secret ballot for a seat on powerful House committee

Mike Allen
Picture of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing a brown mask and holding a mug

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walks to the House floor on Dec. 4. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In Congress, the most brutal battles are internal. House Democratic colleagues of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent her a chilly message yesterday when she lost 46-13 to a fellow New Yorker, Rep. Kathleen Rice, in a secret ballot for a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.

Driving the news: I'm told Ocasio-Cortez lost the vote by the House Democratic Steering Committee because she didn't personally ask for enough votes, and because some members fear she'll support a primary against them from the left.

Rice worked the committee, tightly controlled by Speaker Pelosi, and was showered with seconding speeches.

  • One member told me Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "doesn't have enough relationships. She needs to learn from this."
  • Conscious of AOC's power with progressives and online, the member said: "The vote would have been very different if it wasn't secret."

An aide to Ocasio-Cortez didn't immediately answer a request for comment.

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