Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Throws Support Behind Nancy Pelosi For House Speaker

As long as the current minority leader remains progressive.

Incoming Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) announced her support for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) under one condition: that Pelosi continue to stand for progressive values.

Ocasio-Cortez expressed her worry that the party is tilting toward the right, hinting that Pelosi is the Democrats’ best bet at remaining progressive.

“I agree that our party should, and must, evolve our leadership,” she said in a series of tweets Wednesday. “But changed leadership should reflect an actual, evolved mission; namely, an increased commitment to the middle + working class electorate that put us here. Otherwise it’s a just new figure with the same problems.”

Ocasio-Cortez added that she and Pelosi have disagreed on plenty of issues, including the so-called pay-as-you-go rule, but that Pelosi is the least conservative option among the possible contenders.

Ocasio-Cortez’s push to make Congress more progressive encompasses efforts to oust some of the more conservative Democratic members of Congress.

“Long story short, I need you to run for office,” she said on a call Saturday to some 700 progressive activists. “We all need to run at all levels of government, but I really hope that many of you join me here in Congress.”

The election for speaker will take place in the new year, after the new congressional class is in place. Democrats picked up nearly 40 seats in the House and reclaimed control of the chamber. The odds that Pelosi, currently the House minority leader, will become speaker again are high, especially after Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said she wouldn’t challenge Pelosi for the job. After some early resistance from a handful of Democrats, some critics like Rep. Brian Higgins (N.Y.) have changed their tune and decided to back Pelosi.

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