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Ocasio-Cortez calls for Maloney to ‘step aside’ from DCCC responsibilities if he primaries another incumbent

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022 to discuss the Puerto Rico Status Act.
Greg Nash
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022 to discuss the Puerto Rico Status Act.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called on Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the party’s campaign arm, to “step aside” from those responsibilities if he follows through with mounting a primary challenge against another Democratic incumbent in their state.

“Given the resources that he has at his helm, it creates a conflict of interest,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview, according to Politico.

“If he’s going to enter in a primary and challenge another Democratic member, then he should step aside from his responsibilities at the DCCC.”

The New York progressive claimed that Maloney’s decision to run in the state’s newly drawn 17th Congressional District in a map that still needs to be finalized, instead of the 18th Congressional District he currently represents, is “particularly shameful as a member of Democratic leadership, especially as the leadership of the DCCC, who asks all of us to make sacrifices in one way or another, who asks progressives to make sacrifices on their stances in order to preserve a majority.” 

Earlier this week, Maloney announced he would be running in the state’s 17th District following a new court-sanctioned map unveiled on Monday. Though the new district includes his home, it would also mean setting up a member-on-member primary as the 17th is currently represented by Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.).

“While the process to draw these maps without the legislature is against the will of voters, if the newly-announced maps are finalized, I will run in New York’s 17th Congressional District. NY-17 includes my home and many of the Hudson Valley communities I currently represent,” Maloney tweeted on Monday.

“Further, I believe I am the only sitting member who resides in NY17,” he added in a separate tweet.

The court-sanctioned map would also introduce another member-on-member primary challenge for Jones, since the new map places his home in the 16th District, currently represented by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), pitting two members of the Congressional Black Caucus against each other. 

The map still needs to be finalized.

“Rep. Maloney fought harder than anyone to get maps that reflect the will of the people of New York, even at his own expense, and continues to fight against this illegitimate process. He has proven he can lead the DCCC without his own race interfering and he will continue to do so,” DCCC communications director Chris Hayden said in a statement to The Hill.  

In a statement released through his campaign on Thursday, Bowman asserted that he would still be running in his district and urged Maloney to run in the one he currently represents, the 18th.

“I want to be very clear: New York’s Sixteenth Congressional District is my home. The people of this district are my people. Regardless of what the final maps say, I will run again in this district,” Bowman said.

“But let’s also be clear about this: two Black men who worked hard to represent their communities, who fight hard for their constituents in Congress and advocate for dire needs in our communities should not be pitted against each other all because Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to have a slightly easier district for himself,” he continued. “The Democratic Party should not tolerate or condone those who try to dismantle and tear down Black power in Congress.”

“The solution is simple. Congressman Maloney should run in his own district. I’ll be running in mine,” he added.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her support for Maloney during a press conference on Thursday.

“We have a great chairman of the DCCC, he’s a master of the three Ms,” Pelosi said, listing them as mobilization, messaging and money.

“He has worked very hard. I’m very proud of the work he has done.”

The Hill has reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for further comment.

Updated at 5:40 p.m.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Sean Patrick Maloney
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