- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2020

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened her reelection campaign over the weekend facing about a dozen challengers, including one who jabbed her for holding the kickoff on the anniversary of Amazon’s scrapping of its New York headquarters plans after her criticism.

The progressive darling, who has become a national figure, faced criticism from voters after the Amazon deal fell through, and it’s unclear if she has been able to regain their loyalty heading into the reelection bid in November.

She is being challenged by five Democrats. Eight Republicans are also vying for the seat, though the Republicans face a steep climb in a district that has not elected a member of the GOP since 1990.

One notable Democratic challenger, former CNBC reporter Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, pointed out the incumbent’s campaign event took place about a year after Amazon decided not to build an additional headquarters in New York. The decision came after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez pushed back against the plans, effectively killing more than 100,000 jobs in the New York City area, including part of her district.

On an AOC campaign poster shared on Twitter about her campaign event, Ms. Caruso-Cabrera added the caption: “and celebrating the 1 year anniversary of Amazon NOT opening a headquarters, and a failure to launch 25,000 jobs for Queens!”



The former CNBC reporter posted on social media one of the main reasons she entered the race was Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s torpedoing of the Amazon deal.

“This is a key reason I got into the race against @AOC. Families in the Bronx & Queens need leaders who want to bring jobs, not drive them away,” she tweeted.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has recently spent time on the campaign trail, traveling to support self-declared democratic socialist Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent.

But she told The Washington Times she works her “butt off” for her own constituents in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which encompasses part of the Bronx and Queens.

“I’ve attended hundreds of events in my district, hosted them, you know we do a lot of productive legislative work. And ultimately, I don’t believe that I’m entitled to just live in the House. I feel like I have to earn the right,” she said, adding she welcomed the primary challenge.

But she said she believes she still holds strong support in her district, two years after she unseated a member of the Democratic establishment’s leadership, Rep. Joe Crowley, who had served for decades.

Mr. Crowley reportedly did not show up for debates and did not take the primary challenge seriously.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez appears to have learned from his mistakes, downplaying her own time away from her district and in the national spotlight with Mr. Sanders, saying she has traveled with the 2020 Democratic front-runner only three or four times in the past six months.

“They appreciate my honesty and they appreciate that — I work — I outwork everybody to make sure that they have everything that they can ask for,” she said of her voters.

Voters in New York’s 14th Congressional District will vote in the primary on June 23.

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