Will AOC Make a Run for Senate Against Gillibrand?
According to what has been named “high place sources,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) plans to run against New York’s Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2024.
The controversial 33-year-old Queens lawmaker and firebrand have yet to make a final decision on the race but is said to be gearing up for a major clash with the junior Empire State senator.
Gillibrand was appointed to succeed Hillary Clinton in the Senate in 2009 and has been widely viewed as more of a party centrist. However, New York’s Democratic Party has veered sharply to the left since Gillibrand’s appointment, and AOC apparently perceives her moment has arrived.
Earlier this month Ocasio-Cortez told Politico she was looking at options, including a run for “higher office.”
When asked about challenging Gillibrand, AOC said, “Don’t ask me that question. … Print that.”
A top Democrat strategist notes that AOC polled and probed about taking on Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2022 but opted against it. The young congresswoman was said to have come under heavy pressure from the Biden White House, warning her against taking on the Senate leader.
But Gillibrand has far less institutional support than Schumer. And Gillibrand’s less-than-overwhelming performance on the stump during her brief bid for the 2020 presidential nomination didn’t help her standing back home.
Gillibrand’s poll numbers remain lukewarm. A recent Siena College poll showed that 46% of New Yorkers gave her a positive job approval, and just 43% said she should run again.
“AOC would have an excellent chance against Gillibrand,” former New York Post Albany Bureau Chief Fred Dicker said, speaking recently to Newsmax. “Gillibrand is widely regarded in Democratic circles as an ineffective prima donna with a weak following.”
AOC, a proud member of Democratic Socialists of America and a vigorous Bernie Sanders backer, and ersatz leader of the so-called “Squad,” is said to have a nationwide, left-of-center following.
Her political action committee, Courage to Change, was involved in numerous U.S. House primaries in 2022.
Dicker concluded, “AOC has a potent national fund-raising base and is highly popular among progressive Democrats who dominate the New York primary and thus would be formidable.”
A Democrat strategist source says AOC will easily raise $200 million in her race against Gillibrand.
Dicker predicted that AOC’s final decision would come this fall.
“It was one thing for AOC not to challenge Schumer,” said political historian David Pietrusza. “But it is quite another matter when it is AOC vs. Gillibrand.”