Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has launched a new Super PAC called Courage to Change. From the PAC’s website, it is “designed to support candidates and advance progressive issues. Our mission is to help widen the path to elected office for working people, grassroots progressives, and candidates who exemplify political courage.” It is worth noting that the PAC will refuse corporate money and is only meant to facilitate grassroots support for the candidates it endorses. The PAC endorsed three candidates who participated in elections on March 3rd. So how did they do? How can AOC use her endorsement to sway politics in elections across the country?
Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez – Texas Senate
The Race – Christina Tzintzun Ramirez ran in a primary contest to decide who would run for the Senate seat against John Cornyn (R) in the November general.
The Result – Ramirez finished third with 13.2% of the vote, just narrowly behind second place. No candidate received a majority, so there will be a runoff between first place MJ Hegar and second place Royce West in May.
The Verdict – Ramirez outperformed her polling which showed it was a long shot to make the runoff. Coming within 1% of second place is definitely something to be proud of in conservative Texas. This race shows promise for the future, even though we came up short this time. It also shows an AOC endorsement can move numbers in unlikely places.
Jessica Cisneros – Texas 28th
The Race – Jessica Cisneros ran in a primary against incumbent Democrat Henry Cuellar for the House seat in the 28th district of Texas
The Result – Incumbent Cuellar won with 51.8% of the vote to Cisneros’s 48.2%.
The Verdict – Cuellar is a notoriously conservative Democrat; so much so that he was being backed by funding organizations that usually aid Republicans. To come so close is certainly a bitter pill to swallow but this is perhaps the race that should bring the most optimism. A Medicare-For-All progressive almost unseated a pro-life Democrat in Texas.
Georgette Gomez – California 53rd
The Race – Georgette Gomez ran in a top-two primary for California’s 53rd congressional district after the retirement announcement of Susan Davis (D).
The Results – Georgette Gomez finished in second place with 19.2% of the vote. She will face Sara Jacobs, also a Democrat, in the general this November.
The Verdict – Success! A top-two primary means that first and second place go head to head in a general election. Gomez beat the closest challenger, a Republican, by 5 points for second place. This sets up a direct confrontation between Sanders and AOC backed Gomez against the Democratic establishment favorite Jacobs. This general election will be an interesting test case for progressives versus the establishment. Expect to hear more from us in the future.
To combat the power of the establishment, it is vital that we create a progressive infrastructure to facilitate funding for candidates. The Democratic party and its various funding wings actively use their influence to prevent progressive challengers and maintain institutional control over their party. It is actively designed to prevent us from taking over. This is why we have to create our own tools to fight for ourselves. This, I believe, is what AOC is attempting to do here. With the national media giving her a lot of attention, she wields unique power as a progressive. Her endorsement means something. The candidates discussed here deserve all the credit for their own accomplishments. This was a good test case for what AOC can do and I would say she seems to have moved the needle.
Check out the PAC’s website at couragetochangepac.org