At last count, there were 13 people from both sides of the aisle looking to oust her from office.
After shocking pundits and defeating Congressman Joseph Crowley in 2018, Ocasio-Cortez shot to national prominence and became a lightning rod for folks on both the right and left – but mostly the right – for her very left-leaning views. (Some might call her a socialist. Heck, she might even call herself that.)
So we are going to try to catch you up on the numerous candidates who will be on the ballot. First the June 23rd primary, when AOC will face five challengers from her own political party.
• Michelle Caruso-Cabrera – A longtime CNBC correspondent, Caruso-Cabrera might be Ocasio-Cortez’s most formidable challenger, and would seek to represent a more center-leaning faction of the party. In fact, she only just recently changed her party affiliation to Democrat.
• Fernando Cabrera – The current City Council member from the Bronx apparently has the support of Councilman Mark Gjonaj, the councilman who brings his own baggage to the table, from allegedly taking money from mob bosses to a recent scandal in the community by helping bring the Hell’s Angels to the district. According to published reports, Gjonaj and Cabrera have been urging some political club members to charge their party affiliations so they can vote in the primary.
• James Dillon – A Long Island City resident and outspoken critic of the congresswoman’s role in scuttling the Amazon HQ2 deal, it’s not the first time that Dillon has ran for the seat.
• Badrun Khan – Khan announced her intent to run last September. The daughter of Bengali immigrants, Khan has said of AOC, “The people of the 14th district deserve a Congresswoman who wants to solve the problems of our community, not the world.”
• Jose Velazquez – Velazquez was born and raised in the Bronx, and does not appear to have any prior experience running for office.
Now on to the GOP candidates, who will square off in a primary of their own on the same day:
• Jineea Butler – A former Division I basketball player for Long Island University in Brooklyn, Butler’s website describes her as an urban analyst, community organizer, motivational speaker and, last but not least, an innovator.
• Israel Ortega Cruz – The housing specialist leans heavily on his devotion to Christianity. In a survey for Ballotpedia, Cruz repeatedly brings up Jesus, God and the Bible.
• John Cummings – The retired police officer is by all accounts one of the more serious contenders on the GOP side. He raised almost a half-million dollars in ten weeks after he announced his candidacy on Fox & Friends.
• Miguel Hernandez – Hernandez is a contractor and superintendent of an Upper East Side condo building.
• Scherie Murray – The Jamaican-born Murray is another serious candidate among the Republican hopefuls. She is an active member of the Queens Republican Party, at one time handling communications duties for the group. She ran in a 2015 special election, but lost to Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman. She raised a similar amount as Cummings after she announced her candidacy in an interview with Sean Hannity.
• Ruth Papazian – Papazian is a health and medical writer and editor. She is opposed to the Green New Deal, AOC’s signature piece of legislation, and “other half-baked policies that will increase unemployment in the district.”
• Rey Solano – Solano owns his own medical supply company. According to his Facebook page, he wants to cap the tax rate at 10 percent for residents and businesses, citing that figure was “good enough for God.” His favorite kind of music is “rock” and his favorite movie is Caddyshack, in case you were wondering.
• Antoine Tucker – Rounding out the list is Tucker, an ex-felon who caught the attention of Joe Piscopo, who invited him to appear on his radio show.
So there you have it. Whether they were inspired by AOC’s own rise from political newbie to member of Congress, or just outraged by her positions on the issues, Ocasio-Cortez is going to have no shortage of people gunning for her this year.