Although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has become one of the faces of the new freshman class, her fellow Democratic colleagues, who are also freshmen and women, say the New Yorker doesn't speak for them. In fact, a group of five of these freshmen women are doing everything in their power to stay away from the controversial progressive. Their reason is simple: AOC doesn't represent them, their constituents and she has no interest in helping the Democratic Party keep control of the House in 2020. Ocasio-Cortez is focused on making the Democratic Party more progressive, something her other freshmen colleagues don't like, Roll Call reported.
Reps. Elaine Luria (VA), Abigail Spanberger (VA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Mikie Sherrill (NJ) and Chrissy Houlahan (PA) have decided to pursue a joint-fundraising effort – the Service First Women’s Victory Fund – that focuses on their prior military service or ties to the intelligence communities. The goal is simple: to help each other fundraise by sharing supporters.
All five women successfully flipped previously-held Republican districts. All of the districts, except Houlahan's, voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.
“There’s been an overwhelming focus on a small number of members in our caucus who did not flip seats, who did not help win the House, who are doing what is right for their districts, but who don’t represent our districts, or at least my district,” Slotkin said. “Being a Democrat is more than being a far-left progressive."
According to the women, if Democrats are going to keep their majority in the House next year, incumbents who successfully flipped Republican-held seats need to get more press and more focus.
“My mother-in-law’s a Republican in California,” Houlahan said. “And she’s completely convinced that I’m an outlier. … I’ve tried to explain to her and to explain to our communities that I am — we are — not outliers. We are 5-to-1, at least in terms of the power of our numbers,” she added.
Their goal is clear: to show voters that there are moderates in the House and that constituents that voted for Trump can also be represented by Democrats in the House.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has already declared four out of the five districts as competitive targets they're wanting to win back in 2020. They're focused on Luria, Spanberger, Slotkin and Sherrill's seats.
If Republicans are going to win back these seats, they need to effectively communicate how the economy has boomed since Trump took office and really hone in on the fact that Democrats have seized on the Mueller investigation. Voters need to see that their politicians are working for them. Nothing drives that point home harder than pointing to a record unemployment rate and Americans having more money in their pockets.
The GOP also needs to continue to hammer these women's voting records.
From Roll Call:
These five don’t miss votes: CQ’s Vote Watch shows they voted 99.5 or 100 percent of the time they’ve been in Congress, compared to a 97 percent average for Democrats in the House.
They’ve also sided with their party less than the party average of 97.5 percent of the time. Slotkin has sided with fellow Democrats the least (89.7 percent), followed by Spanberger (90.5), Sherrill (92.1), Luria (94.5) and Houlahan (94.4)
Spanberger, who unseated former House Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat by 2 points in a central Virginia district that backed Trump by 7 points, said she isn’t about to start any Twitter wars with her GOP colleagues. The former CIA officer joked about being a boring member of Congress.
“I’m not going to do anything outrageous that’s going to garner the attention because how does that serve my district?” she said.
AOC may be loud and out there but we know what she's doing, what her end goal is. It's quiet members of Congress, like Spanberger, who we have to worry about. How they vote and what values they hold remain a mystery. When no one pays them any mind they're free to do what they want without any kind of accountability. That's scary. And dangerous.