Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) threw her support behind a campaign to primary fellow Democrats who are not progressive enough in a Saturday call with the progressive group Justice Democrats.
"Long story short, I need you to run for office," Ocasio-Cortez said, according to Politico. "All Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves. That's really what we need to do to save this country. That's just what it is."
After her stunning primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.), the House Democratic Caucus chair, Ocasio-Cortez has been vocal on her intent to challenge the Democrat establishment and push them to the left on numerous issues like climate change, campaign finance and health care. On her first day at Capitol Hill, the freshman congresswoman attended a climate change protest outside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) office. Her decision to back Justice Democrat's campaign to primary incumbent Democrats is the most recent move from Ocasio-Cortez to challenge more moderate members of the party.
"We recruited and supported Ocasio-Cortez all the way to a historic victory and now we’re going to repeat the playbook," Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said in a statement. "There’s lots of blue districts in this country where communities want to support a new generation of diverse working class leaders who fight tirelessly for their voters and build a movement around big solutions to our country’s biggest problems."
Justice Democrats endorsed Ocasio-Cortez in her 2016 congressional run, and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti was a co-founder of the group. Chakrabarti was also on the call and was more blunt in his remarks.
"We need new leaders, period," he said. "We gotta primary folks."
Justice Democrats had some notable successes in the 2018 midterms. Aside from Ocasio-Cortez, Justice Democrats backed three other women of color who won their primaries and races, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. The four women ran similar campaigns and appeared to have formed a coalition among one another.
Tlaib also endorsed Justice Democrats' campaign in a statement.
"Help uplift women like us at all levels of government. We still need more of you to run with us. So get your squad together. We are waiting for you," she said.