Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Saturday endorsed her pick for New York City mayor, a hit to the campaign of Democratic frontrunner Andrew Yang, who has been cheered by some Republicans.
Ocasio-Cortez, whose district encompasses parts of Queens and the Bronx, endorsed Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney and former MSNBC legal analyst who has received support from several other progressive leaders.
“We cannot afford a future where New York becomes a playground for the wealthy,” Ocasio-Cortez said during her endorsement speech at a rally outside City Hall on Saturday. “That’s why I think it’s so important that we as a movement come together to make sure we send a progressive candidate to Gracie Mansion this month.”
“I’m putting Maya no. 1,” the congresswoman added. “Maya Wiley is the one. She will be a progressive in Gracie Mansion.”
“If we don’t come together as a movement, we will get a New York City built by and for billionaires, and we need a city by and for working people,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Wiley also worked in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration as his general counsel. Yang has had stern words for de Blasio over the course of his mayoral campaign, saying that he believes “many New Yorkers want to turn the page from the de Blasio administration.”
Polls close on June 22 for the ranked-choice Democratic primary for New York City mayor, but early voting begins on June 12.
Yang, who ran for president in 2020, is considered a frontrunner, along with Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, and Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner. Garcia and Wiley would be the city’s first female mayors if elected.
Wiley received support from other prominent Democrats, including former presidential candidate Julián Castro, who tweeted Saturday that she “has the experience and vision to tackle New York’s biggest challenges successfully.”
The Working Families Party also endorsed Wiley the previous day.
Yang’s campaign has received support from GOP donor and hedgefund billionaire Jeff Yass, who supported Republican Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). Yass donated $500,000 to a PAC supporting Andrew Yang.
Cruz, along with Stephen Miller, former senior policy advisor to President Trump, praised Yang for speaking out in support of Israel when conflict broke out between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere,” Yang tweeted.
“Bravo to Yang for opposing the rabidly pro-Hamas & anti-Israel attacks from fellow Dems Omar & Tlaib,” Sen. Ted Cruz wrote in a tweet, referring to progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Yang later attempted to assuage the feelings of those who were offended by his original tweet in support of Israel, saying that some of his campaign volunteers were correct in their view that “my tweet was overly simplistic in my treatment of a conflict that has a long and complex history full of tragedies. And they felt it failed to acknowledge the pain and suffering on both sides.”
However, he added, “Support of a people does not make one blind to the pain and suffering of others.”
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