‘Squad’ of progressive Democrats all easily win 2nd House terms

NY’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts handily beat challengers in strong showing for party’s left

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks as, from left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks as, from left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

As the neck-and-neck presidential race kept American voters on edge, the quartet of progressive Democratic congresswoman known as “The Squad” posted clear successes Tuesday for the Democratic Party’s left wing.

New York progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known as “AOC,” comfortably secured a second term in US Congress on Tuesday with an expected win over her Republican challenger, who was outspent despite raising $10 million.

US media also called races for Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian American member of Congress, fellow Muslim congresswoman Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

With 91 percent reporting, Ocasio-Cortez led her Republican opponent in New York’s 14th district, John Cummings, by 38 percentage points, according to The New York Times. In 2018 she won the seat by nearly 80 percent.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., left, testifies before the House Oversight Committee hearing on family separation and detention centers, Friday, July 12, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Omar, in Minnesota’s 5th district, easily beat Republican Lacy Johnson by a margin of just under 30 percentage points.

In Michigan, Tlaib led Republican David Dudenhoefer by 76.9% to 19.8%, with 70% of votes reporting.

And Pressley, facing Independent candidate Roy Owens in Massachusetts District 7, was ahead by a whopping 87.5% to 12.5%, with 90% reporting.

“Our sisterhood is resilient,” Omar tweeted alongside pictures of all four women as she celebrated her victory.

Pressley called her successful reelection bid a win for “our shared humanity.”

“We have organized. We have mobilized. We have legislated our values,” she said. “I believe in the power of us. And we’re just getting started.”

Democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez raised more than $17 million for her second congressional campaign, making it the second most expensive House race in the country even though her primary win all but guaranteed her House seat was safe.

Democratic US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York speaks at a campaign rally for then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

“Serving NY-14 and fighting for working class families in Congress has been the greatest honor, privilege, & responsibility of my life,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Thank you to the Bronx & Queens for re-electing me to the House despite the millions spent against us, & trusting me to represent you once more.”

Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib are three of a number of freshman lawmakers who have questioned traditional Democratic support for Israel.

In June, they were among progressive House Democrats who wrote to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the US to cut assistance to Israel should it proceed with since-shelved plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

Omar, a Somali American immigrant, and Tlaib, who was born to Palestinian parents in Detroit, became a national figures in 2018 as the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

In this Feb. 29, 2020, photo, US Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks at a rally in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

But Omar’s tweets last February insinuating that lawmakers support Israel because they have been bought off came under intense bipartisan criticism. She added fuel to the fire last March by suggesting that Jewish Americans have divided loyalties between the US and Israel.

Trump moved quickly to try to make Omar and three other freshmen congresswomen of color — known as “The Squad” — the face of his opposition, saying they should “go back” to their counties, even though only Omar was foreign-born.

Ocasio-Cortez has been floated as a potential future challenger to New York’s Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, or a primary opponent against New York’s centrist Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2022.

Many of her supporters have also urged Ocasio-Cortez to consider a presidential run. Her first year of eligibility for the White House — the minimum age is 35 — would be in 2024.

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