Socialist star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saw a majority of her primary candidates go down in flames in Tuesday night’s contests, with four out of the six contenders she supported losing their bids to become the Democratic Party nominee in their respective races.
Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed socialist Democrat who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in a stunning primary upset in June, tried to leverage her new star power into helping other candidates follow her path to victory.
And several of Tuesday’s contests echoed the bitter 2016 Democratic presidential primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, where establishment Democratic groups fought against liberal activists in a fight for the party’s soul.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backed six candidates in Tuesday’s contests and only two one
Michigan Gubernatorial Abdul El-Sayed was one of the tough losses of the night
Ocasio-Cortez tried to help Missouri candidate Cori Bush repeat her feat in toppling an incumbent Bush failed in her contest Tuesday
Ocasio-Cortez stayed positive about the defeats.
‘Wins in the short-term are important milemarkers and necessary to building power. But you can’t be afraid of loss. Fear keeps people from accomplishing great things,’ she wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
In Missouri, Ocasio-Cortez had backed candidate Cori Bush in her bid to do what she did earlier in the summer – topple a sitting member of Congress.
But Bush, a pastor and civil rights activist, failed to bring down longtime Rep. William Lacy Clay. She lost by 20 points, earning 37 percent of the vote to Clay’s 57 percent.
The results could cause the remaining Democratic incumbents to breath a little easier as they head into their primary contests, given Clay’s slam-dunk win.
Clay has strong ties to the St. Louis House district, where he has been the congressman for two decades and that his father, who helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, represented before him.
But some of Ocasio-Cortez’s toughest loses came in Michigan, where Sanders defeated Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Two of her candidates went down in flames: progressive gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed came in second in his contest and House candidate Fayrouz Saad came in a disappointing fourth in her primary.
Ocasio-Cortez stayed positive about the defeats
She praised her candidates for running strong races
El-Sayed was hoping to become the nation’s first Muslim American governor. There are around 90 Muslim-Americans running for federal or statewide office this year.
Ocasio-Cortez said the El-Sayed and Bush ran ‘incredible first-time campaigns.’
‘They built power and experience at home that can be used to build on. For them to be this competitive their 1st time running for office, while heavily outspent, is proof of their extraordinary talents,’ she wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
El-Sayed came in second to the frontrunner, state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who received key endorsements from labor groups and from EMILY’s List, a political action committee that aims to elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates.
In the contest for retiring Republican Rep. David Trott’s seat, Clinton’s Democratic firing power shown through over Ocasio-Cortez’s rising star buzz.
Ocasio-Cortez had endorsed Saad in that contest while Clinton endorsed and recorded a robo call for Haley Stevens, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday night.
Trott’s seat is one Democrats want to win in November as part of their effort to gain the 23 seats the party needs to regain control of the House of Representatives.
But another House candidate in Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, gave Ocasio-Cortez one of her two wins for the night.
Tlaib — who was once kicked out of a luncheon for heckling President Donald Trump — won the Democratic nomination and, given that Republicans didn’t field a candidate, she will be the first Muslim woman in Congress.
She is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and defeated five other candidates to win the nomination. Like Ocasio-Cortez, she belongs to the Democratic Socialists of America.
House candidate Fayrouz Saad, backed by Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, came in a disappointing fourth in her primary
Rashida Tlaib won her primary and was one of Ocasio-Cortez’s two wins of the night
The 13th district in Michigan is deep blue – as blue as New York’s 14th, the district Ocasio-Cortez won in June, showing the power liberals have in heavily Democratic turf.
A House candidate in Kansas gave Ocasio-Cortez her second victory.
James Thompson won the Democratic nomination and will take on Republican Rep. Ron Estes in November.
Thompson and Estes had battled it out in an April 2017 special election to replace Mike Pompeo, who left to be President Donald Trump’s CIA director (he’s now secretary of state).
Estes won by six points.
The tougher loss was likely candidate Brent Welder in Kansas City, a former Sanders 2016 campaign staffer who was fighting to unseat Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder.
Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders held a rally in Kansas for their two House contenders last month.
Welder came in second to Sharice Davids, who was endorsed by EMILY’s List and would be the first openly lesbian Native American in Congress if elected in November.
Brent Welder, a former Sanders campaign staffer, lost his contest
Democratic Kansas congressional candidate James Thompson was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; he won his contest Tuesday night
Democrats are eying Yoder’s seat as one of their top pickup opportunities this year. Clinton won Yoder’s House district by one percent in 2016.
But there are still primary contests to compete in.
Ocasio-Cortez is backing Congressional candidate Kaniela Ing in Hawaii, which holds its primary contest on August 11.