Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

AOC's PAC endorses slate of progressive female congressional candidates

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The political action committee led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsed Friday a slate of female 2020 congressional candidates, including a number of women of color, in races across the country.

Why it matters: The endorsements, first reported by the New York Times, highlight that Ocasio-Cortez plans to use her fundraising ability and public profile to support candidates that back her progressive aims — and, in the case of the Texas Senate race, directly challenge the party establishment's preferred candidates.

  • In two races, the PAC has chosen to back candidates who are primarying a sitting Democratic member of Congress. Both incumbents break with Democrats' progressive wing on key issues.
  • Illinois' Marie Newman is challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski, an opponent of abortion rights, while Texas' Jessica Cisneros is taking on Rep. Henry Cuellar, who has an A rating from the National Rifle Association.

What she's saying: "One of our primary goals is to reward political courage in Congress and also to help elect a progressive majority in the House of Representatives," Ocasio-Cortez told the Times.

  • "There’s kind of a dual nature to this: One is opening the door to newcomers, and the other is to reward members of Congress that are exhibiting very large amounts of political courage."
  • "Anyone can show up one day and say, 'I support all these policies; that makes me a progressive,' but one of the things that is really important to us is winning."

The Senate endorsement:

  • Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez (Texas)

The House endorsements:

  • Newman
  • Cisneros
  • Teresa Fernandez (New Mexico)
  • Kara Eastman (Nebraska)
  • Georgette Gómez (California)
  • Samelys López (New York)

Go deeper

AOC says she will support Biden if he wins Democratic nomination

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Thursday she will support Joe Biden if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination during an appearance on NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

"I've said throughout this entire process that what is so important that we ultimately unite behind who that Democratic nominee is. I think it's a two-way street. I've been concerned by some folks that say if Bernie's the nominee, they won't support him and the other way around."

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most popular figures on the progressive left, is a key surrogate for Bernie Sanders — and her star power on the trail has triggered speculation that she might seek a presidential bid of her own in 2024.

AOC on Biden's primary wins: Tonight's a tough night

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses supporters during a campaign rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday. Photo: Brittany Greeson/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told supporters as former Vice President Joe Biden was projected big wins in Tuesday's primaries it had been a "tough night" for her chosen Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Why it matters: "There's no sugar-coating it. Tonight's a tough night. Tonight's a tough night electorally ... [but] never, ever, ever let your heart turn black," Ocasio-Cortez said during an Instagram live broadcast. While Sanders has yet to comment on Biden being projected to win the Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri presidential primaries, Ocasio-Cortez's comments carry significant weight as one of the Vermont senator's highest-profile supporters.

Go deeper: Rep. Clyburn: DNC should "step in" for Biden after Tuesday's contests

Marie Newman beats incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois primary

Marie Newman and Rep. Dan Lipinski. Photos: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Marie Newman, a progressive challenger to incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski, won the Democratic primary in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District Tuesday night, AP reports.

Why it matters: Lipinski, one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, is the first incumbent Democratic Congress member to lose their seat this year. He was one of two Democrats to sign an amicus brief in January asking the Supreme Court to revisit and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects the right for women to seek abortions. Newman, who is an abortion-rights advocate, ran on a platform that highlighted their differences.