Here's What New York Democrat Party Boss Thinks of an AOC Primary Challenge Against Chuck Schumer

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Posted: Dec 26, 2020 8:00 PM
Here's What New York Democrat Party Boss Thinks of an AOC Primary Challenge Against Chuck Schumer

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, made it clear where he stands when it comes to rumors of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) preparing a primary challenge against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

"I think it would be a primary driven by ambition more than by need," Jacobs told the New York Post.

Rumors have circulated for months that AOC will attempt to unseat Sen. Schumer in 2022, but Jacobs told The Post that such a primary challenge between Ocasio-Cortez and Schumer would be a loss in more ways than one. 

“Chuck Schumer has been a progressive force in the state for decades,” said the Democratic chairman. "She has a constituency that admires her and supports her, and they’re in her community, and I think it would be a loss for them if she were to do that."

And Ocasio-Cortez would "absolutely" lose her challenge against Schumer, warned Jacobs, while admitting that he has never met the young lawmaker. 

"We’ve never met. I would look forward to doing that," Jacobs added. "I am open to that at any time."

In an interview earlier this year, AOC said she was focused on winning her re-election this past November but then setting her sights on higher office. 

"Right now, you know, my concern is just making sure that I'm taking care of everything that's right in front of me and just making sure that I earned the honor and the privilege of serving New York 14th Congressional District for another term," Ocasio-Cortez said when asked if she was planning to primary Sen. Schumer. 

"Honestly, this news cycle is so insane who knows where any of us are going to be in 2022," she added.

Ocasio-Cortez told Vanity Fair in October, "I don’t know if I’m really going to be staying in the House forever."

And the congresswoman again made headlines earlier this month by calling for new Democratic leadership in Congress. 

“I do think that we need new leadership in the Democratic Party," AOC said during an interview with The Intercept. 

"[T]he internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there's very little option for succession,” she added. "It's easy for someone to say, ‘Oh well, you know, why don't you run?’ but the House is extraordinarily complex, and I'm not ready. It can't be me. I know that I couldn't do that job."

Her comments directed toward Speaker Pelosi may have contributed to the speaker's overlooking AOC for a prized committee assignment that Ocasio-Cortez was said to be lobbying for. 

Speaker Pelosi nominated four House Democrats to fill five open seats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But for the fifth seat, Pelosi held a secret ballot vote to choose between two New York representatives interested in the job, Reps. Kathleen Rice and Ocasio-Cortez. Rice was the popular choice by far, winning in a lopsided vote of 46-13. 

According to Politico, Rice and AOC had been fighting behind the scenes for weeks to nab a seat on the exclusive House Energy and Commerce Committee, which, according to its website, "has the broadest jurisdiction of any authorizing committee in Congress." It would be a powerful position for the Democratic socialist to push her Green New Deal policies in the early days of a Biden-Harris administration. 

Before the House voted to award the seat to Rice, several House Democrats aired grievances with Ocasio-Cortez and lobbied against her for the committee assignment. Several Democrats took issue with AOC's efforts to help liberal challengers take out incumbent Democrats as well as the congresswoman's refusal to pay party campaign dues.

Chuck Schumer was elected to the House of Representatives in 1980 and to the Senate in 1998.