Ocasio-Cortez eyeing Jeffries as 2020 target: report

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars MORE (D-N.Y.) is thinking of taking on Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesTop Dem: 'Certainly a possibility' that Congress will call Barr, Mueller to testify publicly Omar controversies shadow Dems at AIPAC Pelosi rejects any classified briefings on Mueller report 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.

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Politico reports that Ocasio-Cortez also has a personal beef with Jeffries because of his race for caucus chairman against Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDem support grows for allowing public funds to pay for abortions Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Harris receives endorsement from 6 home-state mayors 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.