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Ocasio-Cortez on Virginia governor’s race: ‘We were unwelcome to pitch in’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said no effort was made to engage her and her progressive colleagues in Virginia’s gubernatorial race earlier this month, which Democrats lost.  

“Before the Virginia elections, it was very clear that our help and our participation was not wanted or asked for, which is fine. I’m not here to tell people how to run their races,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with The New York Times published on Sunday. 

“Not a single person asked me to send an email, not even to my own list. And then they turn around and say, ‘It’s their fault.’ When I think it was communicated quite expressly that we were unwelcome to pitch in,” she added.

Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in Virginia’s race for governor. McAuliffe’s loss highlighted the increasing internal dispute about whether Democrats should field progressive candidates who excite the party’s base or centrist candidates to compete for moderate voters. 

“I think that the results show the limits of trying to run a fully 100 percent super moderated campaign,” Ocasio-Cortez previously said in a video on Instagram regarding McAuliffe’s approach to the race. 

Some moderate Democrats have blamed the Virginia loss — and a generally poor showing for Democrats during the off-year elections in races across the country — on the party leaning too far toward progressive positions. 

In her interview with the Times, Ocasio-Cortez also noted the frustration that persists among some Democrats on Capitol Hill.

“Frustration is there, and it’s part of why the Progressive Caucus was holding out on passing both of these two pieces of legislation together, because we’re like, listen, we’re not going to take these empty promises anymore,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Times, referencing the recent infrastructure bill and larger social spending package.

“You’ve got to give me something to work with, with my communities. And if you’re not, how can I make the argument that they should turn out again?” she added. “And this notion that saying ‘We’re not Trump’ is enough — this is such a deeply demoralizing message.”

Tags 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Glenn Youngkin Terry McAuliffe

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