Ocasio-Cortez endorses Maya Wiley in NYC mayoral race

Ocasio-Cortez endorses Maya Wiley in NYC mayoral race
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezEx-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — West Coast wildfires drive East Coast air quality alerts MORE (D-N.Y.), one of the nation’s most prominent progressive lawmakers, threw her support behind Maya Wiley in the New York City mayoral race, serving up a key endorsement in the final weeks before this month’s primary. 

Ocasio-Cortez cast Wiley as an ally to progressive movements like the one that thrust her into power in 2018, saying the civil rights lawyer and former counsel to Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio43 percent of NYPD employees vaccinated: report The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Israeli politician calls on Ben & Jerry's to 'rethink' ban MORE (D) will work with liberal groups once in office.

“With Maya Wiley, we have a candidate that grassroots movements can work with, can inform and can shape, because she comes from it and she understands and appreciates the importance of grassroots organizing not just in supporting but leading movements, in being the north star for policy," Ocasio-Cortez said in a speech outside city hall standing next to Wiley. "She understands that. And that’s why it’s so important that we come together as a movement and rank Maya No. 1.

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“If we don’t come together as a movement, we will get a New York City built by and for billionaires, and we need a city by and for working people,” she added. “So we will vote for Maya No. 1.”

The announcement marks the culmination of months of speculation over whether Ocasio-Cortez would use her prominent platform to endorse a candidate in the crowded June 22 Democratic mayoral primary.

The endorsement also comes as several candidates vie for the progressive mantle in the primary, including Wiley, comptroller Scott Stringer and Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive.

Wiley seized on the endorsement to cast herself as the liberal standard bearer in the race, tweeting that “Nobody says change like @AOC.”

“And with AOC’s help we are going to win this race and bring the change we need to the city we love,” she added.

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Still, even with Ocasio-Cortez’s backing, Wiley will have ground to make up; the few public polls that have been published show businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangKings launch voting rights effort honoring John Lewis Eric Adams to meet with Biden on curbing gun violence Adams victory in NYC reignites Democratic debate on crime, policing MORE and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams neck-and-neck at the top of the field, often followed by Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner. All three contenders skew toward the moderate flank of the Democratic Party.

Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly touted Wiley’s progressive credentials, noting her history as a civil rights attorney and her support for policies she said would advance liberal priorities.

“Today is a crucial moment. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. We cannot afford to not engage because of what could have been. We engage in the world that we have, and we do everything that we can to make that world better. We have a choice to make New York City better,” she said. “We have an option of a candidate who can center people, racial justice, economic justice and climate justice. That didn’t just come up to run for mayor but has experience and has a lifetime of dedication to this.”

While Wiley will be Ocasio-Cortez’s first choice in the ranked choice primary, the lawmaker said she could unveil more endorsements for choice further down in the nominating contest in the coming days. 

“This year, we have a ranked choice system, and today I will be announcing my first rank out of the ballot, and we may be announcing further ranks in the coming days,” Ocasio-Cortez said.