Ocasio-Cortez Never Steered Money to a Key Arm of Her Party. Until Now.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made her first-ever contribution to the campaign arm of House Democrats — a $260,000 donation that is a milestone in the New York Democrat’s long and complicated relationship with her own party’s political establishment.

In an interview, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said her decision to give to the campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was driven primarily by the dire threat of Republicans staying in power. She feared a Republican-controlled House would not certify a potential re-election of President Biden this fall.

“The entire country saw a terrorist attack on the United States Capitol that was predicated on not certifying the duly submitted results of a presidential election,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said of the riot on Jan. 6, 2021. “And if anybody thinks that that was not a dress rehearsal for what they may try to attempt in January of 2025, I’m sorry to say, but I think that’s a very naïve assumption.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez rocked the Democratic establishment in 2018 when she defeated one of the most powerful members of Congress in a stunning primary upset, ousting Joseph Crowley, who represented a diverse district in Queens and the Bronx and who was in line to be a potential House speaker. She arrived on Capitol Hill as the youngest woman ever elected to the House and as an instant insurgent instigator who protested that fall in the office of the incoming House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, before even being sworn in.

But Ms. Ocasio-Cortez quickly began to work within the political system, building alliances and pressing for policies that have been included in legislation. Her transfer of funds was another step in the 34-year-old lawmaker’s evolution inside the Democratic Party.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said the cash transfer represented her assessment that House Democratic leadership had changed sufficiently to now merit her money.

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