WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed her seat in the House of Representatives after challenging a long-time incumbent with a message of shaking up the status quo.
Now, she faces her own outsider challenger in the the first electoral test of her congressional tenure.
The New York Democrat knows the primary process well: Her upset victory over Joe Crowley – a member of House leadership who was thought to be in line for speaker – allowed her to gain a massive following after the 2018 midterm election. She is turn has used that following to champion her progressive ideals, her own legislation and pressure House leadership on major issues over her term.
But the primary Tuesday marks the first test for the freshman and fellow members of the Squad. Three out of the group of four women of color, who over their first two years in office have become some of the most sought-after voices inthe progressive wing, are facing primary challenges ahead of the November election. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is on the ballot Aug. 4, and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is on the ballot Aug. 10.
“Every lawmaker's reelection and their race for sophomore year, so to speak, is always the biggest test because it is a test of how deep and long your roots go with the people who are voting for you, and how much you've been able to win and maintain their trust,” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist based in New York, adding that a lawmaker's first reelection fight “is always going to be your most intense.”