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'Not Normal' But in a Good Way: Ocasio-Cortez Raises $1 Million in One Month for Re-Election

"The energy of this movement is at an all-time high."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, December 21, 2019.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles on December 21, 2019. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the popular freshman Democrat from New York whose first year in office has shaken up the American political establishment, announced Friday that her re-election bid raised $1 million in January, a huge amount of money for a congressional campaign.

"That's not normal for the House," tweeted The Intercept's Ryan Grim of the congresswoman's haul. 

In early January, Ocasio-Cortez announced she was starting a political action committee aimed at supporting progressive candidates for Congress after a year of attacks on primary challengers to incumbents from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). As Common Dreams reported, the DCCC established a so-called "blacklist" banning vendors who work with primary challengers from DCCC-approved clients in March 2019.

The fallout from that decision—and the support for anti-choice, right-wing incumbents like Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) from party leaders despite both men having primary election challengers more aligned with the party's values—has exposed divisions in the party between the old guard and a progressive upswell from the grassroots.

The frustration was noted by progressive Democrat Eva Putzova, who is running to unseat incumbent Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-Ariz.).

"The DCCC loves to tip the scales," said Putzova.

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"They don't care about democracy," she added, "they care about power."

Ocasio-Cortez, as one of the most visible young progressives in the party, is being targeted by right-wing Democrats and Republicans alike in her re-election campaign. 

But the congresswoman's January haul indicates Ocasio-Cortez is well-prepared to face her opponents. 

"Our team is floored," the campaign told supporters in a press release announcing the $1 million in funds for January. "The energy of this movement is at an all-time high, and that foreshadows a lot of great things for our future."

Progressives welcomed the news as an indication they are winning the battle for the soul of the party. 

"Shake this entire system to the core," tweeted radio host Benjamin Dixon.

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