KINGMAKER

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Endorsements Boost Other Left-Wing Democratic Candidates

The New York Democratic insurgent candidate has raised the profile of a number of other challengers around the country—leading to significant fundraising boons.

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In the week since her upset primary win, New York Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has turned to elevating and endorsing like-minded contenders around the country.

Cortez’s blessings have proved enormously fruitful so far, especially for insurgent left Democrats facing similarly uphill odds in their primaries against more traditional incumbents.

One example where the boost has been apparent is in the campaign of Kerri Harris, currently challenging Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) from the left on a platform that includes single-payer health care and a progressive tax code.

Harris, as The Washington Post reported, actually came to New York's 14th congressional district to assist Ocasio-Cortez's campaign on the ground.

Drew Serres, Harris’ campaign manager, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that since the Ocasio-Cortez win they saw a “huge spike in numbers.” In the first month-and-a-half since announcing their campaign, Serres said Harris’ camp had raised only $20,000. And in the five days after Ocasio-Cortez's win, they brought in $15,000 from 429 donors with an average contribution of $35.

A similar situation is unfolding in Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district where Ayanna Pressley, the first woman of color elected to Boston’s city council, is challenging longterm incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support of Pressley’s campaign, which includes a Medicare-for-all platform and a call to defund the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to Alex Goldstein, an adviser for the Pressley campaign, in the 36 hours after Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, the campaign raised approximately $18,000 from 205 contributors—more than three times more than they raised in a similar time span the week prior.

Within about two-and-a-half days of a tweet supporting Kaniela Ing, a member of Hawaii's State House of Representatives who is running for Congress in the state's 1st district, he said he got about $10,000 in contributions.

“People are inspired all across the nation, including here in Hawaii," Ing said in a phone call with The Daily Beast.

The fundraising boon has extended beyond blue states as well. Brent Welder, an alum of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 2016 presidential campaign, raised more than triple in online contributions in the past week compared to the week before that.

Welder, running in Kansas’ 3rd congressional district which is currently represented by incumbent Kevin Yoder (R-KS), raised $55,951 from online contributions in the week since Ocasio-Cortez ousted veteran Democrat Joe Crowley. The week before, they had $17,353 from online contributions, according to campaign manager Shawn Borich. Welder, also endorsed by Sanders, is running in a district that includes Kansas City and voted for both Sanders and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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The endorsements have also included gubernatorial and state level candidates. Ocasio-Cortez backed Abdul El-Sayed, a young progressive gubernatorial candidate in Michigan who would be the first Muslim governor in the nation’s history.

All the aforementioned candidates—Ocasio-Cortez included—are among a slate that have been backed by Justice Democrats, who have all pledged to not accept any corporate PAC money.

Ocasio-Cortez also boosted Julia Salazar, a member of Democratic Socialists of America, who is challenging New York State Sen. Martin Dilan in Brooklyn.

Her campaign told The Daily Beast that in the week since the primary upset, Salazar has raised over $20,000 in small dollar contributions, which is more than triple their normal haul in an average week.

Salazar, like Ocasio-Cortez, was recently endorsed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. Nixon's campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt, said they too saw a big uptick to the tune of more than $25,000 from over 500 donors in just the 24 hours after the polls closed last Tuesday.