Ocasio-Cortez takes aim at AIPAC after Bowman’s loss

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for pouring tens of millions into fellow Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s divisive primary race Wednesday after Bowman lost the primary to a more moderate Democrat.

Bowman, a second-term progressive, faced tough opposition from the pro-Israel political advocacy group AIPAC because of his criticism of the Israeli government. The group, which has historically funded more Republicans than Democrats and rarely spent on Democratic primaries, contributed at least $14.5 million against Bowman.

“This was about $20 million in big money being spent in a historic sum, unlike any seen in American history. Point-blank. Period,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Wednesday from the Capitol.

“I think we need to have a real conversation about the AIPAC,” she continued. “I think that what we do need to have a real conversation about is how a Republican — primarily Republican and largely Republican-financed — organization is playing and dumping money and playing an extremely divisive role in the Democratic Party.”

Multiple mainstream Democrats lined up behind Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s primary challenge, including Hillary Clinton. Israel policy was front and center in the race, with Latimer a strong supporter of Israel.

Bowman also faced redistricting this election cycle, making his reelection bid more difficult. His new district featured less of the deep-blue North Bronx and more of the significantly more moderate Westchester County.

Ocasio-Cortez remarked that beyond impacting primaries, AIPAC’s influence on Bowman’s race and others could also bear fruit in the general election.

“It makes it much harder for us to coalition-build and to create the winning coalitions,” she said. “We need that energy and coalition of a progressive base in order to make sure that we win statewide and federally, and Republicans are pouring money to finance these [primary fights] for a reason.”

“Because people and representatives like Jamaal Bowman can move and reach communities that many other areas of the Democratic Party cannot,” she continued. “And so if Republicans can finance taking people like that off the board, they can also make it easier for themselves in November.”

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), another progressive who faces her own primary challenge where Israel policy has played a key role, similarly denounced the influence of AIPAC on Bowman’s loss Wednesday.

“AIPAC and their allies — backed by far-right Donald Trump megadonors — poured a tidal wave of cash into this primary race showing us just how desperate these billionaire extremists are in their attempts to buy our democracy, promote their own gain, and silence the voices of progress and justice,” she wrote in a statement. “There should be no question about the need to get Big Money out of politics.”

After winning the primary Tuesday, Latimer is expected to be easily elected in November.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.