WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has famously bucked the Capitol Hill tradition of members doing hours of daily call time with top-dollar political donors.
Instead, the two-term congresswoman representing parts of the Bronx and Queens has relied largely on small-dollar donors to raise money online, gaining an impressive $1,679,781 in the third quarter of this year, according to FEC fundraising disclosures.
“Fundraising isn’t leadership,” said Ocasio-Cortez, after her unlikely win over Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018. Now that Ocasio-Cortez has $5.78 million in campaign cash, more than enough to launch an exploratory campaign for the Senate, political watchers are paying close attention.
>> @AOC "raised a whopping $1.66 million for the quarter, giving her $5.78 million in her campaign coffers if she wants to explore a Senate race against Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand in the future." – @HotlineJosh https://t.co/p16X0Hui1Q
— Pablo Manríquez ???? (@PabloReports) October 17, 2021
Sources close to Ocasio-Cortez push back on the idea that the 32-year-old millennial progressive politics icon would challenge one of the two Democratic senators from New York, either Kirsten Gillibrand or Majority Leader Charles Schumer.
Schumer is up for reelection during the midterm election next year, while Gillibrand is not up for reelection until the general election in 2024.
“If you look at what she’s done in the past,” a fellow member of the House New York delegation told Latino Rebels, wishing to remain anonymous, “her fundraising skills usually go to helping other candidates. That’s not to say she won’t challenge Leader Schumer or Gillibrand. I know I wouldn’t bet against her. It really all depends on what she wants to do.”
In 2020, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed an array of progressive candidates, mostly women of color including several Latinas, through her Courage to Change PAC.
Today @CouragetoChange is announcing its first endorsements of newcomers to Congress:
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez (TX)
Teresa Fernandez (NM)
Kara Eastman (NE)
Georgette Gomez (CA)
Marie Newman (IL)
Jessica Cisneros (TX)
Samelys Lopez (NY)https://t.co/sbSKTipijm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2020
Closer to the Capitol, the campaign funds of the other original “Squad” members, who came to Washington with Ocasio-Cortez as new members after 2018 midterm election, pale in comparison to AOC’s.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has just $273,080 in the bank for her reelection campaign, according to the latest FEC filings. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has almost double Omar’s campaign war chest, with $536,911 in the bank, while Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has nearly double Pressley’s funds on-hand, with $1.16 million cash-on-hand for her reelection.
Among new members who have joined the ranks of the Squad progressives, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) has $332,208 campaign cash-on-hand; Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has $270,798; while Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) had as raised more than $1.8 million this year, ending the quarter with $2,237,824 in the bank, according to FEC filings.
Pablo Manríquez is the Washington correspondent for Latino Rebels. Twitter: @PabloReports