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'Being People-Funded Frees Me to Put People First': Ocasio-Cortez Touts Highest Portion of 2018 Small-Dollar Donors

Analysis shows nearly 62 percent of the incoming congresswoman's campaign contributions came from donors giving less than $200

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

Progressive champion Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) had the highest portion of small campaign donors of any member of the 116th U.S. House, according to a new analysis out Tuesday. (Photo: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/Facebook)

"Being people-funded frees me to support policies that put people FIRST, and speak openly about closing lobbyist loopholes," Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) declared Tuesday, responding to a new analysis showing that she had the highest portion of small campaign contributions of any member of 116th U.S. House.

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, nearly 62 percent of Ocasio-Cortez's $2 million haul came from individual contributions that totaled less than $200. Many donors to her campaign hailed from the Bronx and Queens, two New York City boroughs she will represent in Congress beginning in January.

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Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest congresswoman ever elected, has been making national headlines since even before her stunning primary defeat of long-time Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in June. A champion of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, she has publicly challenged the leaders of the Democratic Party—including presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—to embrace bold and increasingly popular progressive policies.

Her advocacy for more ambitious and leftist measures—as she and other political commentators noted Tuesday—is enabled in part by her refusal to cozy up to big business or accept any corporate PAC money. As a "people-funded" incoming congresswoman, she'll also have more time to focus on actual policymaking, as The Intercept's Ryan Grim pointed out on Twitter:

And she'll need that time if she wants to continue successfully taking on—in the words of The Week's Ryan Cooper—her party's "corrupt and mealy-mouthed" more "moderate" faction.

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