Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s latest project is about building a “war chest” to financially support other working-class candidates trying to get elected.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has launched a new political action committee (PAC) to fund other working-class candidates trying to run for office who would usually be discouraged by the Democratic party’s official campaign arm.
“Help us build a war chest to support progressive red-to-blue seats, bold incumbents, and newcomers to Congress alike,” she wrote on Twitter, announcing the new initiative, aptly dubbed, Courage to Change.
The first day of public fundraising saw the PAC raise over $69,000 from more than 4,600 donations, which averaged under $15 each.
AOC launched the PAC to support both progressive incumbent Democrats and primary challengers alike whose positions are close to her own. It will stand as an alternative to the Democrats’ official fundraising arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which the freshman Congresswoman described as “an entrenched tool in a system that blocks working-class candidates from running for office, and protects out of touch incumbents”.
Previously, AOC has been criticised for withholding $250,000 in “dues” that the DCCC requests from all caucus members to be put towards protecting Democratic seats and picking up Republican-held seats in the House.
However, she has defended this decision, pointing out that she has given more than $300,000 to incumbent members directly, half of them in swing seats.
“DCCC made clear that they will blacklist any org that helps progressive candidates like me,” she wrote on Twitter, referring to the DCCC’s policy of blacklisting those who work with primary challengers. “I can choose not to fund that kind of exclusion.”
For AOC, who got into the House after a successful primary run that saw her defeat 10-time incumbent Joe Crowley, this is also somewhat personal.
“I don’t see the sense in giving a quarter-million dollars to an organisation that has clearly told people like me that we’re not welcome,” she told Fox News.
What’s more, creating her own PAC allows Ocasio-Cortez to donate up to $5,000 to another candidate per election cycle – $3,000 more than a single candidate is allowed to give another candidate from their own campaign.
“Expanding a House majority is critical, which is why I regularly (and happily) fundraise sizeable amounts for fellow members,” AOC wrote on Twitter. “I also believe that a Dem majority should be transformative, which is why I give strategically. Seems fair, no?”
It does. At the end of the day, this is about challenging the status quo and paying it forward. Which is exactly why we need more women, like AOC, where the decisions are being made – and this is a good start.