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Will AOC Be Running for Higher Office?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

POLITICO recently stroked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's ego with a glowing profile piece published on Sunday, "From agitator to insider: The evolution of AOC." Beyond reinforcing the media's affinity for Democrats, a takeaway from the profile is whether or not AOC will attempt a primary challenge against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for her Senate seat in 2024. 


When discussing her next steps, there was a lot that the Squad member didn't rule out, including seeking higher office. "Don’t ask me that question … print that," AOC answered about challenging Gillibrand. 

As the piece mentioned:

In a lengthy recent interview in her Capitol Hill office, Ocasio-Cortez wouldn’t rule out any number of options, from challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) next year (“don’t ask me that question … print that,” she said with a laugh), to remaining in the House for the long haul or, perhaps, leaving Congress entirely.

“There’s a world where I’m here for a long time in this seat, in this position. There’s a world where I’m not an elected official anymore. There’s a world where … I may be in higher office,” she said.

AOC's laughing through her interview with a more friendly outlet is to be expected, just as it would be that she would jump at the chance to throw her Republican colleagues under the bus, even referring to them as fascists:

Ocasio-Cortez’s shift suggests a potential exchange of one type of power — her penchant for internal pot-stirring and the outsize media attention that comes with it — for a more conventional kind of influence. Whether AOC 2.0 is actually more powerful than the previous one isn’t clear yet; she and Jeffries have not yet locked arms the way Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) did ahead of his push to lock down the House’s top gavel.

Not that Ocasio-Cortez accepts any comparison between herself and the right flank of the GOP.

“There are people, including moderates, who sometimes try to draw this completely unfair, false equivalence between progressives and, frankly, the fascists that we see in the Republican Party,” Ocasio-Cortez said.


If she indeed ran for the seat, and won the primary, this would not be the first instance in which AOC defeated a Democratic incumbent. She came into her current seat after handily defeating then Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in the 2018 Democratic primary, with 56.7 percent of the vote to his 43.3 percent. Crowley had served 10 terms. 

Running against an incumbent in a statewide primary may be a bit more challenging, though. The Squad member is able to get away with such policy positions and views, ridiculous and attention-grabbing as they are at times, because she has the luxury of running in the particularly liberal New York's 14th Congressional District. According to the 2022 Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), her district is the 23rd most Democratic in the country, at D+23. 

This is not the only time that there has been chatter about AOC running for higher office, or even the highest office mentioned. Last August, The Hill published a column suggesting AOC ought to run for president. 

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