Former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sharply condemned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday for endorsing a far-left politician over an incumbent Democrat.
On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D) in the race for New York’s 17th congressional district.
The snag is that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is also running for that seat. Thus the race for the Democratic nomination will pit moderate and progressive Democrats against one another.
Messina, who ran former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, had strong words for Ocasio-Cortez after her endorsement.
Messina believes Ocasio-Cortez is driving further divide in the Democratic Party at a critical moment when Democrats can least afford it.
“This is so counter-productive. The Supreme Court is about to outlaw abortion. We could lose both houses,” Messina said. “So we are going to focus our time running against each other? Now we’re primarying commited (sic) progressives because. . .why? If we lose house it’s because of dumb s*** like this.”
The race for New York’s 17th congressional seat became the center of intra-party controversy among Democrats last month after multiple courts ruled that New York Democrats drew a congressional district map that violated the state constitution by being illegally gerrymandered.
A court-appointed official then redrew the map in a way that pits several incumbent Democrats against one another.
Most prominently, Maloney’s home was redrawn into the 17th congressional district, which is currently represented by Rep. Mondaire Jones (D). The majority of the 17th district, however, remains new territory for Maloney, who currently represents the 18th district. Still, Maloney announced he would run for the 17th district, which increases his chances at re-election.
Instead of challenging Maloney, Jones decided to run for the newly redrawn 10th congressional district, which includes lower Manhattan and parts of eastern Brooklyn.
After Maloney’s revealed he was switching districts, Biaggi announced that she would run against him and called him “a selfish corporate Democrat.”
“I am sure that he will say, ‘This is hurting the party, she doesn’t care about being a Democrat,'” Biaggi told the New York Times. “What hurt the party was having the head of the campaign arm not stay in his district, not maximize the number of seats New York can have to hold the majority.”