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AOC announces new PAC, endorses slate of progressive candidates for Congress

Image: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks before introducing Bernie Sanders to the stage during his campaign event at the Whittemore Center Arena on Feb. 10, 2020 in Durham, N.H. Copyright Joe Raedle Getty Images
Copyright Joe Raedle Getty Images
By Rebecca Shabad with NBC News Politics
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Ocasio-Cortez announced on Twitter that her new PAC, Courage to Change, was announcing its first endorsements of candidates who haven't served in Congress.


WASHINGTON — Progressive figure Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Friday announced her first set of congressional endorsements for the upcoming 2020 election through a new political action committee that seeks to elect progressives to the House and Senate.

Ocasio-Cortez announced on Twitter that her new PAC, Courage to Change, was announcing its first endorsements of candidates who haven't served in Congress. They include Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez who's running for Senate in Texas, and for the House, she's endorsing Teresa Fernandez of New Mexico, Kara Eastman of Nebraska, Georgette Gomez of California, Marie Newman of Illinois, Jessica Cisneros of Texas and Samelys Lopez of New York.

The freshman Democrat's tweet then leads to a page soliciting donations for those candidates.

She also said in a follow-up tweet that she wants to elect candidates who support major progressive proposals including her own Green New Deal.

"It's time to elect a progressive majority in Congress accountable to strong, grassroots movements that push support for issues like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, racial justice, & more," she said.

Eastman is challenging Democratic Rep. Don Bacon in Nebraska and Newman is trying to defeat Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois' primary. On Newman's campaign website, she slams Lipiniski for voting against Obamacare and coverage for pre-existing conditions. Cisneros is trying to primary Democratic Rep. Henry Cueller in Texas and said on her website that Cueller is "Trump's favorite Democrat."

The other endorsed candidates are running either for open seats or to defeat Republicans in the general election.

Lopez is a community organizer who was born in Puerto Rico and is running in the Bronx. On Tzintzún Ramirez's Senate campaign website, she makes clear that she doesn't want donations from corporate PACs, lobbyists, corporations or other special interests. Gomez is also a community organizer and was the first LGBTQ Latina elected as president of San Diego's city council.

"Creating progressive change takes more than winning the White House. We must also elect progressives in the House and Senate who have the courage to take on corporate interests and fight for justice for all," the PAC's first tweet said Friday.

The congresswoman's spokesman for her re-election campaign, Corbin Trent, told NBC News that this is only the first batch of endorsements and Ocasio-Cortez plans to make more during the current cycle.

"One of our primary goals is to reward political courage in Congress and also to help elect a progressive majority in the House of Representatives," Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times, which first reported early Friday morning that she planned to make the announcement. "There's kind of a dual nature to this: One is opening the door to newcomers, and the other is to reward members of Congress that are exhibiting very large amounts of political courage."

Ocasio-Cortez was first elected to Congress in 2018 after she won her primary in a shocking upset earlier that year to Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. She has since become an icon of the liberal progressive movement and has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president this year.

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