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-CortezNew York man pleads guilty to threatening to kill Omar Funding stopgap would give Congress more time to debate expiring surveillance provisions 'Saturday Night Live' presents Trump impeachment hearings with 'pizzazz' of soap opera 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 ClintonThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race In 2020, democracy will be decided at the margins Michelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award MORE carried over President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed 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.