For much of her first term, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised her profile by fighting for national initiatives favored by the far left, like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
But in recent months, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes parts of Queens and the Bronx, has shown a keen interest in more local issues and raising the profile of people much closer to home.
On Wednesday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez will make her first statewide endorsement in the lieutenant governor contest, supporting Ana María Archila, an activist who some on the left say has a shot at becoming the first Latina elected to statewide office.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez is expected to turn up at a rally for Ms Archila on Monday, a day before the June 28 primary, and will also send out a fundraising email. Ms Archila’s campaign believes the endorsement will increase donors, volunteers and entice left-leaning Democrats to vote.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement, which was confirmed by her spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, may also encourage other national progressive Democratic leaders to take more interest in the contest.
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“What the AOC represents is a group of young people who are so sick of the passivity of mainstream Democrats on the issues of our moment, whether it’s climate, making progress in dismantling the racist structure of our legal system or to stand with the workers,” Ms. Archila said in an interview. “The future of the Democratic Party is this new wave and this new generation.”
Ms. Archila, who is running in tandem with Jumaane D. Williams, the New York City public attorney, and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, know each other. In 2019, Ms Archila was a guest of Ms Ocasio-Cortez at the State of the Union address, after she gained national attention for confronting Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator about the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Ms. Archila and another Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Diana Reyna, face a tough challenge trying to defeat newly installed incumbent Antonio Delgado, a former congressman who left his House seat last month. last.
Some elected officials and union leaders worry that Governor Kathy Hochul is running a primary campaign that is too low-key and that it could hurt Mr. Delgado’s chances, even though he has a lot more money than Ms. Archila.
“While the opposition might want to take advantage of a sleepy electorate that is unaware of Election Day, we want as many voters as possible to know what is at stake in this race,” Sochie said. Nnaemeka, Head of State of New York. Working Families Party, which supported Ms Archila.
An endorsement from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez does not guarantee victory. Last year, she supported Maya Wiley, a civil rights lawyer and former lawyer for Mayor Bill de Blasio, in the race for mayor of New York. Ms. Wiley came third in the Democratic primary.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez recently backed Alessandra Biaggi, a state senator representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, in her main challenge to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a moderate Democrat.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez has also been willing to weigh in on local controversies, recently accusing New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams of playing ‘dirty politics’, amid accusations she cut funding discretionary under his control from the left. -leaning MPs who voted against the $101 billion budget.
In May, she announced that she would support the entire New York Democratic Socialist slate of candidates, as well as some backed by the Progressive Working Families Party. The two left-wing parties sometimes clashed. This year, they’ve lined up to back a handful of challengers in hopes of selecting longtime incumbents to the state Legislature, much the same way Ms. Ocasio-Cortez herself l did in 2018.
In several races, young women of color are challenging longtime male incumbents in districts whose demographics have shifted during their tenure. Others are challenging the heavyweights like Senate Energy Chairman Kevin Parker. Opponents say these veterans have not been responsive enough to progressive demands.
The majority of those challengers are seeking seats in the state Assembly, which some on the left have described as an obstacle to advancing a transformational agenda through the state legislature.
There are national echoes in some of these races. Jonathan Soto, a former Ms. Ocasio-Cortez organizer who is running with her support, hopes to unseat Congressman Michael Benedetto in the East Bronx. As he campaigned to increase parental control over schools and expand access to health care, Mr. Soto accused Mr. Benedetto of carrying water for conservatives, including former President Donald J. Trump, who donated it to him several years ago.
Mr. Benedetto, who is backed by the Democratic establishment in the state, has strongly rejected those claims. In a video posted to Twitter, he announced: “Benedetto a Trump supporter? Garbage!” before tossing Mr. Soto’s campaign materials into an awaiting trash can.
Mr Benedetto echoed some conservative attacks on Ms Ocasio-Cortez by pushing back against his opponent, whom he sought to paint as an out-of-touch extremist.
Congresswoman Inez E. Dickens, who is facing a challenger backed by the congresswoman, took direct aim at Ms Ocasio-Cortez: “She must be really thinking about coming to my district because I will stand up and push back,” she said.