Spokeswoman says AOC has no plans to primary incumbent senator

 May 1, 2023

For the past four years, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been among the Democratic Party's most prominent members.

Yet her recent decision not to pursue a senate bid suggests that even some Democrats have grown tired of the far-left icon. 

Spokeswoman says AOC has no designs on Gillibrand's seat

Politico reported on Sunday that Ocasio-Cortez says she will not be launching a primary challenge against New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Lauren Hitt is a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez, and she told Politico that her boss "is not planning to primary Gillibrand."

The website noted that Ocasio-Cortez's statement comes despite previous talk among former aides that she had an interest in taking Gillibrand's seat.

Jay Jacobs serves as chair of the New York Democratic Party, and he also poured cold water on the suggestion that the incumbent senator should face a challenge.

Congresswoman's progressive allies uneasy about prospect of losing to GOP

"I think it’s divisive. And unless you think you can win, it’s divisive unnecessarily. It’s using up resources we need to preserve for more coordinated work and the rest," Jacobs was quoted by Politico as saying.

However, it isn't just establishment figures who are cool to the idea of Ocasio-Cortez going after Gillibrand, as even some of her ideological allies have adopted a similar stance.

They include New York-based progressive political strategist Camille Rivera, who warned that a primary fight "could be pretty bruising and give a Republican a leg up."

That concern was echoed by an unnamed strategist who is affiliated with the progressive Working Families Party (WFP).

The figure told Politico that "2024 will be a big year and [New York] will be vital to taking back Congress," adding, "That will be an important focus for the WFP."

Next year's election map favors Republicans

This is the second time that Ocasio-Cortez has backed off from challenging a sitting Democrat, with Politico pointing out that a rumored run last year against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer "never materialized."

The congresswoman's reticence could be due in part to Senate Democrats facing a particularly challenging electoral map in 2024, something FiveThirtyEight podcast host Nathaniel Rakich pointed out in February.

Rakich stressed that whereas Democrats will have to defend Senate seats in deep red states like Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia along with swing states like Pennsylvania and Nevada, no Republicans are fighting to get reelected in either blue or swing states.

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