For years the image of who drives change in our democracy has reflected an old narrative of straight white men in smoky rooms. 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Targets Hakeem Jeffries in 2020

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Targets Hakeem Jeffries in 2020

When NY Democratic Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her primary earlier this year, she warned that she planned to recruit candidates to challenge members who were not progressive enough. Her first target is reportedly another rising star: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)Politico reports that Ocasio-Cortez has reportedly already recruited a Black woman candidate to primary the newly elected Democratic Caucus Chair. Ocasio-Cortez and the Justice Democrats -- the group who helped recruit her to run and helped manage her campaign -- feel Jeffries takes too much money from corporate interests, and is too open to the finance and banking sector as well as and pro-charter school interests. One source told the outlet that it’s also personal for Ocasio-Cortez; her campaign donation to Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was allegedly held against Lee behind-the-scenes as she and Jeffries fought to serve as Democratic Caucus Chair. A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez denied that she was already recruiting candidates. However, when asked if she is looking at Jeffries' seat, the spokesman did not deny it and instead pivoted to the Caucus Chair race: “We’re disappointed in the way that the leadership elections went down, specifically that leadership election … We would have liked to have seen that be a more fair fight with less pressure." Jeffries, who has just over one million dollars in his coffers, responded to the potential challenge saying, "It’s a free country and democracy is a beautiful thing.” While Jeffries is Justice Democrats’ top target, they also reportedly have their sights set on Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who consistently receives the approval of conservative groups, among others. No one is exempt. “We’re going to double down on primary challenges and look at some of these white, male corporate Democrats similar to Joe Crowley," said Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director of Justice Democrats. "Many of these places are majority or plurality people-of-color districts that don’t demographically or policy-wise reflect the diverse working class communities they often serve.” More here.

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