Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was bounced Tuesday from the Working Families Party ballot line by a Queens judge, raising the stakes in her potentially tricky Democratic primary fight for reelection.
The firebrand lawmaker collected just 13 signatures from members of the small union-backed party, two short of what she needed to get on its primary ballot.
Now, AOC won’t be on the WFP ballot line in the November general election either, said Martin Connor, a lawyer for Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, AOC’s opponent in the Democratic race.
“AOC has hurt working people of the Bronx and Queens with her votes and creates disunity within our party,” said Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchorwoman who goes by her initials MCC. “No wonder why pro union forces don’t want her and neither do our neighborhoods.”
The leader of the Working Families Party shrugged off the ruling by Supreme Court Judge Phillip Hom and vowed the labor-backed group would still actively campaign for AOC.
“We believe the Congresswoman is the leader her district and this country needs,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, the director of the state party, who decried petition challenges amid the coronavirus crisis.
The number of signatures needed to qualify for the primary ballot was lowered by Gov. Cuomo due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Connor said the needed number of signatures was 14.58, which officials rounded up to 15. AOC submitted 14 signatures, but one was disqualified because the voter was actually a registered Democrat.
Hom ruled that AOC should be removed from the WFP ballot, where she would have run unopposed.
The two women will vie along with several less-well-known candidates for the Democratic nod in the 14th Congressional district that spans parts of Queens and the Bronx.
The winner of the Democratic nomination should be virtually assured of victory in November in the deep-blue district. But having a spot on the Working Families Party line would have given AOC a backup plan if she suffered a shock defeat to MCC.
AOC trumpets her outspoken progressive advocacy that has made her a nationally known figure. MCC says AOC is out of touch with the needs of the blue-collar district.
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