Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has spent more money – $6.3 million through the beginning of this month – than any House Democrat seeking reelection this year, even though she is in a safely progressive district, The Hill reported Sunday.
She has nearly 40 staffers on her campaign, which is more typical of a major Senate campaign.
In addition, no candidate has spent more on Facebook than Ocasio-Cortez's $3.2 million in the past two years.
University of Connecticut political science professor Paul Herrnson said $6 million is "quite a bit for a person in a safe district to spend" and might indicate she has bigger plans.
"She has quickly emerged as a national leader," Herrnson said. "Everything about her track record suggests she's ambitious. Unlike most first-term members of Congress, she has national visibility and a national following."
But Ocasio-Cortez's campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the congresswoman's spending is becasue she takes seriously her most significant Democratic Party primary challenger, former Republican and news anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who has the support of three super PACs.
Stan Oklobdzija, a postdoctoral fellow at the Claremont McKenna College Policy Lab, pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez is not the only star member of Congress with strong digital advertising presences to spend large sums, even in safe districts. He cited Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, who has spent $3.5 million this cycle, despite being a freshman in a conservative Texas district.
Oklobdzija also stressed Ocasio-Cortez is part of a broader progressive movement and has thus endorsed and helped numerous other candidates.
Presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden has also appointed Ocasio-Cortez, who champions the Green New Deal, to chair his climate change task force, according to Business and Politics.
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