Second Republican announces plans to challenge Ocasio-Cortez in New York

Second Republican announces plans to challenge Ocasio-Cortez in New York
© Greg Nash

Republican John Cummings on Friday announced plans to challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president Nadler wins Democratic primary MORE (D-N.Y.) for her seat next year. 

Cummings said in an interview with the New York Post that he was inspired to launch his own congressional bid by Ocasio-Cortez's long shot run last year.

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“But to just come from the outside and take somebody on is really difficult,” Cummings, a 59-year-old civics teacher and former police officer, told the Post. 

“It was pointed out to me by my students that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pretty much made my excuse — and I’ll use their quotes — ‘a lame one,’ ” he added of the former bartender. 

Cummings said he plans to file his paperwork Friday, though the Federal Elections Commission website did not yet show any campaign documents. 

The Bronx Republican Party expressed confidence in Cummings’s campaign, saying he would present an alternative to the democratic socialist incumbent.

“He will be able to connect with the real New Yorkers in the Bronx and Queens who AOC takes for granted,” said Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino. 

Cummings said he’s a “small-government guy” who will promote choice on issues including education, a free-market economy and infrastructure improvements. 

“I’m not personally invested in this to go after [Ocasio-Cortez],” he said adding, “That’s not my thing. I just think that people need common-sense representation.” 

Cummings is the second Republican to announce a challenge to Ocasio-Cortez, joining Ruth Papazian.

Regardless of who eventually wins the GOP’s congressional nomination, Ocasio-Cortez will enter the race with a huge advantage in a district that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats try to turn now into November The Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump On The Trail: Trump, coronavirus fuel unprecedented voter enthusiasm MORE carried over President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE by nearly 58 points in 2016.

The freshman Democrat amassed a gargantuan social media following and has emerged as one of the most vocal spokeswoman for a litany of progressive causes, including immigration reform, universal health care and the Green New Deal.