She beat the machine in 2018.
Now, she’s got one all her own.
Once dismissed as a fluke, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is proving her political power, successfully backing two progressive Congressional candidates in New York’s June 23 primaries as she cruised to victory over her own challenger, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
AOC proved discerning in her choices: of the three primary challengers or political newcomers she endorsed at the federal level, two — Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones — won, with Bowman defeating liberal stalwart Eliot Engel and Jones triumphant in the first step of his bid for retiring Rep. Nita Lowey’s seat.
Ocasio-Cortez also supported Rep. Jerry Nadler, who sailed to victory.
“In two short years, the progressive movement has dramatically shifted New York’s Congressional delegation, the state legislature, and city policy,” AOC said in a statement to The Post.
“Last Tuesday’s wins proved that this dynamic is not going away anytime soon — it is a powerful, generational force in our politics that will be a part of our country for years to come.”
With a bigger Squad at her side, Ocasio-Cortez is entering her second term strong, analysts said.
“She absolutely smoked her well-funded opponent, a few of her endorsed candidates won in New York and she’s shown that she’s good at lifting people up as she herself rises,” Democratic strategist Eric Koch told The Post. “She’s going to be a force for a long time.”
“The Squad is growing,” crowed Paco Fabian, a spokesman for the Bernie Sanders-aligned political non-profit Our Revolution.
Wins by Bowman and Jones “will help us move the Democratic party in the right direction,” he said.
Ocasio-Cortez still has $4.6 million in the bank and can use it to shore up allies. No Democrat dinosaurs in the five boroughs will be safe in the campaigns ahead, Fabian warned.
“Wherever we can, we will support candidates that are progressive, that are seeking public office if they’re going up against centrists or Democrats in name only,” he said.
Even so, it wasn’t a perfect night for the Squad leader, who found less success on the state level.
AOC-backed Assembly candidates Phara Souffrant Forrest and Marcela Mitaynes are so far trailing their establishment rivals in tight races.
The contests are close, however, and the city plans to begin counting a surge of absentee ballots next week.
Ocasio-Cortez did land a winner with Jabari Brisport, who now looks to have triumphed for the open seat to replace retiring Brooklyn State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery.
It remains to be seen whether an expanded Squad will become an unruly one — or will just be a rubber stamp for her political ambitions.
“The real challenge will be holding the band together [and] actually getting anything done,” one senior staffer in New York’s Congressional delegation told The Post.
“There are some bright new stars coming to the delegation who I’d imagine won’t be too interested in just being seen as AOC’s sidekick.”
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