AOC doesn’t rule out 2022 primary challenge against Schumer

AOC doesn’t rule out 2022 primary challenge against Schumer

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez left the door open Wednesday to a potential Democratic primary challenge to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2022.

In an interview Wednesday with Politico’s Playbook, Ocasio-Cortez said she’s focused on winning her reelection to Congress this year rather than seeking higher office.

But when asked if she’d rule out a run against the most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate in 2022, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “I don’t know.”

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President Trump has tried to egg on an AOC-Schumer fight and told TV anchors earlier this year that Ocasio-Cortez would “kick his ass.”

Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman to enter Congress at age 29 after she upset Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., two years ago and vanquished a powerful Democrat that many viewed as a future speaker of the House.

She’s facing a long list of challengers for the 14th Congressional District seat and one of her primary opponents, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor, has the endorsement of the traditionally conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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“Right now, you know, my concern is just making sure that I’m taking care of everything that’s right in front of me and just making sure that I earned the honor and the privilege of serving New York 14th Congressional District for another term,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked if she’s considering a run against Schumer.

The media darling and one of the most liberal politicians in Washington said she’s not thinking of the Senate “in any serious way” and argued it’s hard to look too far out into the future with today’s fast-moving news cycle.

“Honestly, this news cycle is so insane who knows where any of us are going to be in 2022,” she said.

Schumer, 69, is one of the most influential and powerful politicians in Washington. He’s been in elected office since 1975, first as a New York State assemblyman and then in 1981 he was sworn in as a representative in the U.S. House.

Elected to the Senate in 1998, Schumer has since steadily grown his national profile while keeping the pulse on local issues in New York. As the top Democratic senator in Washington, Schumer still returns to Brooklyn on weekends and routinely holds Sunday press conferences that often tackle constituent and consumer issues.

AOC URGES BIDEN TO KEEP SHIFTING LEFT ON CLIMATE, MEDICARE, MORE AS SHE OPENS DIALOGUE

During her successful 2018 campaign, Ocasio-Cortez was able to ding Crowley for living in Virginia and accused him of being absent or out-of-touch with the New Yorkers in his district.

Schumer is a consistent thorn in Trump’s side, and the president has delighted in whipping up drama for Democrats.

“Because of how badly they did with the impeachment hoax, AOC will primary Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, and win,” Trump tweeted in February.

Even though she’s only a freshman, Ocasio-Cortez has proven to be one of the strongest fundraisers in the U.S. House, raking in $2.7 million for her reelection this year alone. If she seeks higher office, she’d likely have access to a wide network of grassroots donations, much like Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that would make it possible to mount a formidable primary challenge.

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Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez and Schumer have teamed up in the fight against the coronavirus that has especially devastated AOC’s district. The powerful pair appeared at a press conference Tuesday urging the federal government to help out with funeral expenses for New Yorkers.

“It’s bad enough people are losing their jobs, and don’t have food to eat, are separated from their families and loved ones,” Schumer said. “But to not be able to give a decent funeral and burial to someone who is near and dear to you is outrageous.”

Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

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