AOC endorses NYC mayoral candidate ahead of Democratic primary

New York News

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Maya Wiley continued to add to her list of Congressional endorsements in her mayoral campaign, landing progressive darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just a few weeks shy of the June 22 primary.

Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Wiley at a public event in City Hall Park, where she also endorsed a slate of city council candidates that had all taken her political action committee Courage to Change. The second-term congresswoman—who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx—said that Wiley represented a chance for the left to consolidate around a candidate and avoid losing the primary to someone closer to the center.

“It’s time we make a choice. 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. “So we will vote for Maya No. 1.”

Ocasio-Cortez suggested she may announce further ranking endorsements down the ballot as New York City goes with ranked-choice voting beginning with the primary.

Later Saturday, Rep. Jamaal Bowman—an ally of Ocasio-Cortez and member of the so-called “squad” in Congress, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County—announced via Twitter that he was endorsing Wiley as well.

“Today was such an exciting and inspiring day for me and for this campaign. The enthusiasm and the support I witnessed on the streets of New York today for my vision for our city is all the affirmation I need that my message of transformation is resonating with so many voters,” said Wiley in a statement. “The fact that today was also the day I received these humbling endorsements from Congress Members Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman is further proof that I am the progressive that can win this race and that New York City is ready for change, ready for justice and ready to usher in a new era for New York City.”

The endorsements continued Saturday as Jane O’Mears Sanders, co-founder of the Sanders Institute and wife of former Democratic presidential candidate and current U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders also backed Wiley.

Wiley adds Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman, and Sanders to what is a fairly high-profile list of endorsements across the Democratic spectrum in Congress. She’s also been backed by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velazquez and Katie Porter.

Schenectady native and former Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang has the backing of Reps. Grace Meng and Ritchie Torres, while Ray McGuire has the support of Rep Gregory Meeks; Eric Adams is endorsed by Reps. Adriano Espaillat and Thomas Suozzi.

Scott Stringer remains endorsed by only Rep. Jerry Nadler after several Congressmembers—including Bowman—rescinded their endorsements due to an accusation of sexual harassment. A second woman accused Stringer of harassment Friday.

The endorsement from AOC created some backlash from Wiley’s fellow candidates. Both fellow Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa knocked the endorsement.

“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Maya Wiley want to slash the police department budget and shrink the police force at a time when Black and brown babies are being shot in our streets, hate crimes are terrorizing Asian and Jewish communities, and innocent New Yorkers are being stabbed and shot on their way to work,” said Adams. “They are putting slogans and politics in front of public safety and would endanger the lives of New Yorkers.”

Wiley responded to the statement with one of her own, citing some supposed endorsements of his own.

“It’s easy to see why Tucker Carlson, Rudy Giuliani, Fox News and the PBA all keep praising Eric Adams: because he’s using their talking points,” Wiley said. “We must reject the false choice between reform and over-policing. I know we can keep New Yorkers safe without resorting to the same policing tactics that have terrorized black and brown communities.”

Meanwhile, Republican Curtis Sliwa said electing Wiley would benefit criminals. “Her endorsement of Wiley is a vote against law and order,” said Sliwa, the founder of The Guardian Angels. “It is the kiss of death for New York City.  The only ones that really benefit from Maya Wiley becoming mayor are the criminals themselves.”

New York City’s mayoral primary is June 22. Early voting begins June 12.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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