Ocasio-Cortez eyeing Jeffries as 2020 target: report

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGeorge Conway calls Trump a 'racist president' in new op-ed House Democrats introduce resolution condemning Trump for 'racist' comments Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer MORE (D-N.Y.) is thinking of taking on Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud This week: House Democrats voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt MORE (D-N.Y.) by recruiting a primary challenger to run against him in 2020, according to a new report from Politico

Two people close to Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats, a liberal group that has promised to back anti-incumbent challengers, told Politico that the incoming representative is eyeing a primary challenge for Jeffries, who was just elected to replace Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), whom Ocasio-Cortez defeated in a primary earlier this year, as caucus chairman. 

Jeffries is seen by many as a rising star in the Democratic Party and possibly a future Speaker of the House.

But he's drawn the ire of progressive groups for accepting campaign donations from corporate interests.

ADVERTISEMENT

Politico reports that Ocasio-Cortez also has a personal beef with Jeffries because of his race for caucus chairman against Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCongress, stop ducking war-declaration authority on Iran Trump's tweets unify a fractured Democratic Party Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran MORE (D-Calif.), a progressive. Ocasio-Cortez is reportedly displeased that a campaign donation to Lee was allegedly used in a whisper campaign in the race for caucus chair.

“It’s personal for Ocasio,” a person familiar with the matter told Politico. "And she’s going to go all out to take him out.”

A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez told Politico that while they are “disappointed” with Jeffries, they are not currently seeking to unseat the fellow New Yorker.

“We’re not looking at recruiting people to run campaigns, we’re looking at building a congressional staff," Ocasio-Cortez spokesman Corbin Trent told Politico.

At the same time, Trent acknowledged the congresswoman-elect and her allies were disappointed with Jeffries over the Lee race.

Ocasio-Cortez’s and Jeffries’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill. 

Jeffries, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who came to office in 2012 by unseating a Democrat in a primary challenge, told Politico, “It’s a free country and democracy is a beautiful thing.”

“Spread love; it’s the Brooklyn way,” he added, quoting the famed East Coast rapper Notorious B.I.G.

Jeffries, who has about $1.3 million on hand after his 2018 campaign, will be in a good position to defend his seat in two years during what is expected to be a high-turnout presidential cycle.