U.S. Rep. Angie Craig of Minnesota recently accepted money from New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a donation that is controversial even among her fellow Democrats.
AOC, who identifies as a socialist, formed her own PAC called “Courage to Change” last year in a bid to distance herself from the establishment left. Now, she uses this organization to bankroll potential allies like Craig, who was recently given $5,000.
This exchange signals that AOC sees Craig as a fellow progressive rather than a typical Democrat. Courage to Change is clear on its website that it seeks “to make early investments in progressive challengers that can level the playing field against established incumbents and bolster progressive leaders in Congress.” The eventual goal of the PAC is to “build a progressive majority in Congress.”
AOC’s brand of progressivism includes several radical policies like tax rates of up to 70%; measures to eliminate all fossil fuel-based power from agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation; and repeated calls to defund the police.
At least 30 other Democrats received money from AOC’s PAC. However, at least four of these returned the funds, apparently to avoid association with AOC’s radical progressivism, according to Reuters. Presently, the National Republican Congressional Committee maintains a website called “Socialist Give Back,” demanding that the other 26 including Craig reject AOC’s support.
“By accepting donations from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s clear Angie Craig cares more about advancing The Squad’s agenda than representing the people of Minnesota. If Craig is serious about representing Minnesota’s best interest, then she needs to return the money,” RNC spokesperson and Minnesota native Preya Samsundar said.
However, this seems unlikely as many of Craig’s positions closely align with AOC’s agenda.
Craig first won office in 2018, becoming the first lesbian mother in Congress and the first homosexual person to be elected to Congress from Minnesota. In 2020, she defeated Republican challenger Tyler Kistner by a razor thin margin of about 2%. Although frequently portrayed as bipartisan, she only voted with the Republican agenda set by former President Donald Trump 5.5% of the time, per Five Thirty Eight.
It is unclear how her new alignment with AOC will play into her 2022 reelection bid in a district that is not solidly blue.