Staring in the face of competitive reelection races, more than two dozen vulnerable House Democrats are wrestling with whether to keep campaign contributions sent to them by their colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Considering Ocasio-Cortez has become a poster child for the most progressive elements of the Democratic Party, giving back her cash seems like the most obvious move. But those Democrats could embrace a strategy utilized by a vulnerable Republican more than a decade ago and use the money as part of a defense against inevitable GOP attacks.
Ocasio-Cortez sent $5,000 contributions from her Courage to Change leadership PAC to more than two dozen House Democrats, as first reported by Politico. Thus far, at least five of them have either returned or rejected the money, including Reps. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia.
The contributions have become an issue, not just because Ocasio-Cortez is one of the most polarizing political figures in politics today, but because the cash came largely as a surprise, and with help from wire transfer information provided by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The good faith effort by the congresswoman to help her party keep control of the House also put some of her colleagues in a difficult political position because of their districts. Many of these Democrats need to maintain moderate or independent images to survive; being connected to AOC isn’t helpful and her contributions are made-for-TV-ad fodder.
In 2006, Republican Dave Reichert was a survivor in Washington’s competitive 8th District. He won reelection 51 percent to 49 percent in a cycle in which his party lost 30...