Sep 7, 2019

What they're saying: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the 2020 candidates

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

She has yet to endorse a 2020 presidential contender, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has offered her take on a handful of candidacies and worked with several White House hopefuls on legislation.

Why it matters: Since her improbable 2018 win over Rep. Joe Crowley, at the time the No. 4 House Democrat, Ocasio-Cortez has become a household name. The freshman lawmaker has 5.5 million Twitter followers, giving her commentary influence. Her district is 49% Hispanic and heavily Democratic. However, many consider her, as a democratic socialist, the face of the far-left. Just how desirable her favor would be to more moderate candidates is unclear.

Where it stands:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: In May, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez teamed up to probe Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on his role in the Sears' bankruptcy proceedings and possible conflicts of interest, according to CNBC. Sears sued Mnuchin and 3 other board members in April over alleged wrongful transfers of $2 billion in company assets. A bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: The two joined forces on a bill to help individuals with criminal records obtain fair housing, reports CNN. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services in mid-July.
    • Another proposal announced on July 29 focuses on ensuring climate plans include low-income communities, per the New York Times. The period for public comment on the draft legislation ends Sept. 30.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In an interview with Vogue, Ocasio-Cortez said she doesn't think Biden would be a "pragmatic" choice. The latest polls show Biden with a significant lead in the Democratic presidential race, the New York Times reports.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: In May, the two introduced legislation capping consumer loans and preventing credit card interest rates from rising above 15%. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services.
    • Ocasio-Cortez worked on Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.
  • Former Rep. John Delaney: After Delaney said he supported single-payer health care, but not Medicare for All, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted at him to "sashay away" from the 2020 race. Delaney challenged Ocasio-Cortez via Twitter in early June to a debate, writing they both have "the same goal, universal healthcare for everyone, we just have different ways of getting there." Ocasio-Cortez rejected the offer.
  • Sen. Cory Booker: In Booker's spat with Biden over the former VP's comments on segregationist senators, Ocasio-Cortez said Booker didn't owe Biden an apology.

Of note: On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Ocasio-Cortez praised the candidates who spoke Spanish during the first rounds of debates, including former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, saying, "It was a good gesture to the fact that we are a diverse country."

The bottom line: In a New Yorker interview, Ocasio-Cortez said she had no plans to endorse any candidate anytime soon, but she wasn't sure whether she'd wait for a nominee to emerge.

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