Democrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez

Democrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez
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New York City Council Member Fernando Cabrera (D) has launched a primary bid to unseat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhy Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence The Hill Interview: Jerry Brown on climate disasters, COVID-19 and Biden's 'Rooseveltian moment' House Democrats postpone vote on marijuana decriminalization bill MORE (D-N.Y.).

Cabrera filed last week with the Federal Election Commission to run for the seat in New York's 14th District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. 


Cabrera has represented the Bronx in New York's City Council since 2010, his campaign website notes. He officially launched his campaign on Thursday. 

“I’m a centrist and she’s a socialist,” he said told The Hill, referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s democratic socialist beliefs. “No matter how many adjectives you put in front of the word socialist, socialist means a socialist.”

As an example of his centrist beliefs, he cited his support for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response Biden tells CNN town hall that he has benefited from white privilege MORE's health care plan, which he said "gives people options."

The city councilman said Ocasio-Cortez's opposition to Amazon's now-scrapped plan to open a second headquarters in Queens made him believe "we had a congresswoman that was literally clueless...on how government works and how the economy works.”

He said that he thinks he is the best person for the seat because of his track record.

“I passed 31 bills. She passed none," Cabrera said. "I brought close to $200 million into my district. She brought zero money.” 

He added that he thinks he best represents the values of family, faith, community and quality of life.

“So many people have approached me and say ‘hey, will you run? You represent the values that we share in common,’” he said. 

Cabrera has faced controversy over his position on gay rights, including an appearance on a radio show for the Family Research Council, a group that opposes LGBT rights.

Asked about the appearance, he said "Wherever people invite me I will go and I will speak and I will speak truth to power."

He also said that he voted for every bill introduced by the city council's LGBT caucus. 

"Some people want to demonize me because they don't have a track record," he said. "The people in our community know what I stand for...I have fought for the LGBT community."

Cabrera said he lives outside of the district but noted that he has worked in the Bronx for years.  

Several Republicans are also running to unseat Ocasio-Cortez, although the district is largely Democratic.