- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2018

Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez banned press from an event with voters in her New York district this week.

The Queens Chronicle reported Thursday that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s townhall was closed to the press on Sunday.

According to the local outlet, only people who were allowed to attend the event know what specific issues were addressed and how.

“That’s because her campaign banned members of the media from attending the event, which was otherwise open to the public,” editor Christopher Barca wrote.

The rising Democratic star is traveling across her community for a “listening tour” to engage with voters on topics such as health care and housing as she runs for a House seat.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign manager Vigie Ramos Rios told the Chronicle that press was barred because she was “mobbed” by members of the media at an earlier event despite no interviews being offered.

“We wanted to help create a space where community members felt comfortable and open to express themselves without the distraction of cameras and press. These were the first set of events where the press has been excluded,” her campaign spokesman Corbin Trent said.

Mr. Trent said closed events will not be a normal occurrence for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

He stressed to the Chronicle that the campaign wants a good relationship with local news even while the candidate garners wider attention on national platforms.  

“After our primary victory, the campaign had what we saw as a unique and limited opportunity for Alexandria to use her elevated platform to speak about issues affecting our district to the national media, and to campaign for other progressive candidates around the country,” Mr. Trent said.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez beat longtime incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary in New York.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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