Ocasio-Cortez challenger drops out of GOP primary

A Republican candidate seeking to challenge Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell 'he is playing with fire' with Ginsburg's seat Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence MORE (D-N.Y.) dropped out of the congressional GOP primary race late Monday. 

“I am very grateful to the constituents in NY-14 and citizens from across this great nation for their support and words of encouragement,” Scherie Murray, a Jamaican immigrant and businesswoman, said in a statement. 

“As long as avowed socialists are legislators, you can rest assured I will use my platform to advocate for the kitchen table issues of the toughest, hardest working New Yorkers. This is not the end for Scherie Murray because I will continue to work hard,” she added.

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Murray suspended her campaign just days after she had filed a lawsuit against a contractor for allegedly making errors while tasked with getting signatures on Murray’s behalf. 

Her campaign said she faced “hurdles” including “a corrupt political establishment working to silence her.”

“To add insult to injury, the vendor hired to collect qualifying signatures to secure ballot access for the Republican Party nomination in the June 2020 Primary, violated New York State election laws. The vendor was hired in good faith, yet ultimately prevented Murray from qualifying to be on the Republican Primary ballot for the June 2020 Primary,” the campaign said in a statement. 

The campaign said it is taking the case to court to ensure “no other candidate is likewise taken advantage of.” 

The federal lawsuit alleges, among other mistakes, that the vendor used a registered Democrat to be the “subscribing witness” for Murray’s petition, which violates state law that requires the subscribing witness be a Republican in order to get on the GOP primary ballot, the New York Daily News reported.

Andrew Shannon, who is named in the suit, told the Daily News that Murray is striking back with the suit after he sued her a month earlier for breaching the contract. 

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"Whatever Scherie is doing is a smokescreen for her own shortcomings,” Shannon told the Daily News. “If she had a competent campaign we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

John Cummings, a retired New York Police Department officer, remains in the GOP race. 

Ocasio-Cortez also faces a handful of Democratic primary challengers, including former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera

Ocasio-Cortez defeated longtime incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in 2018, becoming one of the youngest women elected to Congress. The progressive quickly became a rising star in her party. 

The race for New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens, is ranked solidly Democratic by The Cook Political Report.

This story was updated at 12:40 p.m.