New York Dem Leader Tells AOC Not to Challenge Chuck Schumer in 2022

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Rumors are swirling that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will make a play for the Senate in 2022, challenging Chuck Schumer for his seat in an effort to remake the Democratic Party in her own progressive image. But if AOC’s fans on Twitter would be excited by the prospect of such an announcement, some within her own party are urging her to stay where she is. That includes the leader of the New York Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, who told The New York Post this week that AOC should think twice before making that move.

“I think it would be a primary driven by ambition more than by need,” Jacobs said. “Chuck Schumer has been a progressive force in the state for decades. She has a constituency that admires her and supports her, and they’re in her community, and I think it would be a loss for them if she were to do that.”

There’s another reason Jacobs is encouraging AOC to avoid that showdown; she would lose.

He told the Post that Ocasio-Cortez would “absolutely” lose a head-to-head challenge with the Senate Minority Leader.

In a recent interview with The Intercept, AOC said it was time for young blood in the Democratic Party’s House and Senate leadership positions, but she lamented the fact that there were few viable people around to fill the void that would be left by either Schumer or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“A lot of this is not just about these two personalities, but also about the structural shifts that these two personalities have led in their time in leadership,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The structural shifts of power in the House, both in process and rule, to concentrate power in party leadership of both parties, frankly, but in Democratic Party leadership to such a degree that an individual member has far less power than they did 30, 40, 50 years ago.”

Ocasio-Cortez said that these structures have led talented Democrats to look for political opportunities elsewhere, but she acknowledged that Pelosi has said that this term as Speaker could be her last, meaning that the left needs to plan for the next generation.

“So,” she said, “I do think that it’s something that we really need to think about.”

Asked earlier this year if she would rule out the possibility of challenging Schumer for his Senate seat, AOC simply said, “I don’t know.”

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