The Democratic political establishment has a new fundraising foe– and she’s from their side of the aisle.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s new political action committee, Courage to Change, will back progressive challengers to more moderate Democratic candidates.
“Courage to Change will be directly donating to these candidates, raising them money via email and social, also working to recruit volunteers,” said Corbin Trent, a campaign spokesman for AOC.
AOC, a powerhouse fundraiser who brought in the most money of any House Democrats last fall, says her organization will counter “corporate interest, elite donors and insular party power structures,” on the Courage to Change website.
“Courage to Change seeks to reward challengers and incumbents who display political courage– people who refuse to bow to establishment pressure, who advocate ferociously for working-class families, and who have lived the same struggles as the people they seek to represent,” according to the group’s website.
The PAC will not accept any corporate donations. The first batch of endorsements are seven women who are running for House seats and one Senate seat, as first reported by The New York Times.
Samelys Lopez, a Bronx native and housing advocate who grew up in a homeless shelter, is among the initial candidates backed by AOC’s group. She’s running in a jam-packed field of over a dozen contenders for the Bronx’s 15th Congressional District, currently held by retiring longtime Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx).
“As a rebuff to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who last year blacklisted organizations that provide support for insurgent campaigns, Courage to Change PAC has chosen Samelys Lopez, a Dominican and Puerto Rican housing justice advocate, to represent the South Bronx,” the political neophyte said in a press release.
The primary is in June and includes career pols like former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, current City Councilman Ritchie Torres, and Assembly member Michael Blake.
The former bartender and activist shocked the political world when she ousted then-Democratic party boss Joe Crowley from his 14th congressional district seat in 2018.
Neal Kwatra, an independent political strategist, praised AOC for what he called a savvy political move.
“I think it’s very smart and what you would expect from someone who thinks like an organizer,” Kwatra told The Post.
“And I don’t think you can view the success of this effort solely through the lens of wins and losses, but rather it’s designed to give space and support to progressive challengers of longtime incumbents who have lost their way,” Kwatra said.
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