Congress

AOC gets long shot GOP challenge

Ruth Papazian says she’s running against New York freshman congresswoman in solidly blue 14th District

The Republican who pushed a write-in campaign for former Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley after his primary loss to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she’ll take on the freshman congresswoman herself. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

Progressive star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, will get a general election challenger in 2020, but the Republican candidate faces long odds in the solidly blue 14th District.

Ruth Papazian, who describes herself as a a Bronx-based health and medical writer, said she plans to file a statement of candidacy this summer, the New York Daily News reported

Papazian has staked opposition to Ocasio-Cortez on her calls to defund U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“She wants to defund I.C.E. She wants to open up our borders to all-comers,” Papazian said in an interview on Fox News.

Papazian also criticized Ocasio-Cortez as having “led the parade of grandstanding politicians” who welcomed the cancellation of Amazon's plans to locate a corporate campus in New York.

A March Siena College Research Institute poll found that 38 percent of all New Yorkers surveyed labeled Ocasio-Cortez a “villain” in Amazon’s decision to cancel a second headquarters in Queens, while 12 percent of those who responded to the poll said they consider the first-term Democrat a “hero.” The poll did not include a breakout of voters by district.

During the 2018 midterm election, Papazian launched a write-in campaign for longtime 14th District Rep. Joseph Crowley after Ocasio-Cortez defeated him in the Democratic primary, the Daily News reported.

She also helms a Facebook group devoted to criticism of Ocasio-Cortez called the “Bronx Bolshevik Bulletin,” where she appears to mock the congresswoman's concerns for Latinx and transgender constituents and urges her to move to Venezuela.

Papazian has posted screenshots on the Facebook page of her tweets challenging the congresswoman. She has since deleted her Twitter profile.

Papazian acknowledged the slim chances of successfully unseating a Democrat in the deep blue district, but said she hopes Ocasio-Cortez's supporters will not participate on Election Day.

“Sure, there is a huge numerical advantage that the Democrats have, but we have low-turnout elections so a lot of those Democrats stay home,” the candidate told Fox News.

In response to the news of Papazian’s campaign, Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, encouraged greater civic participation in a comment to the New York Daily News.

“Democracy is a beautiful thing and we think more people should participate in it,” Trent said.

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