Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins second term in US House

The progressive Democrat and rising star in the party is easily re-elected in New York’s 14th congressional district in Queens and The Bronx.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, speaks to the media after addressing members of her staff and volunteers who helped with her campaign [Kathy Willens/AP Photo]

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been re-elected to a second term in the US House of Representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez was called the winner by The Associated Press (AP) news agency, defeating her Republican challenger John Cummings after taking a nearly 40-percentage point lead with two-thirds of the vote counted. She was all but assured of winning re-election in the heavily Democratic New York 14th congressional district which includes parts of New York City boroughs, the Bronx and Queens.

Ocasio-Cortez made history in 2018 as the youngest woman elected to Congress in US history at the age of 28, championing her working-class and Puerto Rican roots. She is the daughter of a cleaner and a father who died in his 40s.

Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the so-called “Squad” of four freshman progressive Democratic congresswomen that includes Rashida Tlaib from Detroit, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley from Boston.

US Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are known as ‘the Squad’ [File: Erin Scott/Reuters]

The four represent a new emerging faction of young, progressive politicians who are pushing the established House leadership of the Democratic Party.

Victories by Ocasio-Cortez and others in the Squad mean the Democrats in the House will have to confront intra-party showdowns over how aggressively to pursue policy goals in health care, police reform and climate change.

Ocasio-Cortez was a leading advocate of the so-called “Green New Deal” – a bold plan to create jobs by switching the US economy from fossil fuels to electricity and renewables.

She had backed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders over Joe Biden early in the Democratic presidential primary contest.

Biden disavowed support for the Green New Deal during the campaign, but has said he will support policies to promote greater use of renewables and transition away from oil, gas and coal.

Democrats are hoping to cement control of the House for two more years with perhaps an even larger majority, the AP reported.

They are banking on anxiety over the pandemic, suburban indignation with President Donald Trump and a fund-raising advantage.

Over a dozen incumbents of both parties from safe districts have been easily re-elected as polls are beginning to close in some eastern and Midwestern states. But early results are not conclusive yet in hotly contested districts in Virginia, Georgia, Ohio and North Carolina.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is “absolutely certain” that Democrats will “solidly hold” onto their House majority.

On an Election Day conference call with reporters, Pelosi, a California Democrat said, “this election is about nothing less than taking back the soul of America, whether our nation will follow the voices of fear or whether we will choose hope.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies