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AOC's Big-Money Donors in Her Own District? Virtually Non-Existent

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The point of the House of Representatives is a pretty obvious one: It provides Americans with local representation at the federal level.

However, in the case of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it seems that the vast majority of the people interested in financing her career are outside of her New York City district.

According to The Daily Caller, Federal Elections Commission data show that despite the fact that the de facto leader of “the squad” managed to out-fundraise any other member of the freshman House class in 2019, only 10 of the donors who gave her more than $200 actually reside within her district.

To be fair, the FEC only requires individuals who give more than $200 to be listed and only 17 percent of Ocasio-Cortez’s donors gave over that amount. For comparison, other freshmen got 89 percent of their donations from donors who gave more than $200.

However, donors who contributed more than $200 in her district made up less than 1 percent of donations, giving $1,525.50 in the first half of 2019.

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“Each representative is answerable to a congressional district comprised of between 530,000 to 995,000 people, according to the U.S. Census. The DCNF determined which of Ocasio-Cortez’s donors came from her congressional district by comparing the nine-digit zip codes her contributors reported to the FEC to the House of Representatives ZipLook tool, which links nine-digit zip codes to congressional districts,” The Daily Caller reported.

There was only one candidate with less of their money from within her district: Democrat Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas recorded all of her donations from outside of her district.

Three of the four members of “the squad” also had extremely low fundraising totals from within their own district.

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib had $470,430.11 in itemized donations. Impressive, but less than 2 percent of that came from constituents within her own district.

Do you think that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will seek higher office?

Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota did better, if just by default. She had $717,831.22 in itemized contributions, but a little bit more than 4 percent came from within her district.

Only Rep. Ayanna Pressley — frequently referred to as the Ringo of “the squad” — managed to do somewhat better, getting more than 30 percent of her contributions from within her own Massachusetts district.

Then again, she also received $248,280.78 in itemized donations, less than the other candidates, so the whole Ringo thing holds true, I guess.

The obvious takeaway here is the fact that the “the squad” isn’t concentrating on getting money from their constituents. Instead, they’d much rather concentrate on raising their national profile.

In fact, of the five top representatives who received the largest percentage of money outside of their own district, three of them were from “the squad” — Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar. Garcia and Democratic Rep. California’s TJ Cox rounded out the top five.

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The top eight, meanwhile, were all Democrats. Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas was the first Republican on the list, with 7.18 percent of his donations coming from within his district.

On the whole, freshman Republicans took in more money from their own districts than freshman Democrats.

It’s no secret that there are plenty of people in the House of Representatives who are more concerned with their national profile than with the concerns of their constituents. We just had a national cultural fight over this, you may recall, regarding how much Elijah Cummings cares about Baltimore. (The outcome of this depended on your preconceived political opinions; Republicans said “Not much,” Democrats said “You’re racist for asking.”)

It’s worth noting that we don’t know where AOC’s small donors came from, but given her national stature, one can imagine that the numbers could potentially be similar. She took in almost $2 million — and yet, how much of that is from the Bronx and Queens?

For that matter, it’s hard to see any members of “the squad” needing this kind of money for their re-election campaigns. As Nancy Pelosi pointed out about Ocasio-Cortez’s district, a glass of water with a D after its name could safely carry all four districts. The likelihood that any of these women will face a primary challenger is scant.

The reason, therefore, that one would donate to members of “the squad” is because one wants to be a part of their squadding. Or perhaps some donors really feel the Green New Deal actually has a chance of passing. Whatever the case, it’s clear that Ocasio-Cortez and her friends have their sights set beyond their districts. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. However, once the vast majority of your money is coming from outside your district, that’s a bit of a problem.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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