Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will not appear on the Working Families Party ballot in November after the far-left radical organization failed to collect enough signatures to make AOC their official candidate.
The incumbent’s challenger, former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, filed a motion to have Ocasio-Cortez removed from the ballot line of the WFP and a Queens judge agreed.
Queens Supreme Court Judge Phillip Hom ordered the Board of Elections to remove the congresswoman, who goes by her initials AOC on social media, from the WFP line after hearing a legal challenge filed by her Democratic Party primary opponent, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
Hom said a review of the WFP’s petition filed for AOC found that it “contained less than the required number of signatures of enrolled party members necessary for party designation.”
In New York, in addition to Republicans and Democrats, there are several minor parties on the ballot. Most of those parties choose either the Republican or Democratic candidate to run on their ballot line, depending on their ideology. The Working Families Party still supports AOC, despite the paperwork snafu.
The WFP blamed a condensed petitioning period during coronavirus pandemic for the ballot debacle.
“The Working Families Party is unwavering in our support for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and we believe the congresswoman is the leader her district and this country needs. Limits on petitioning due to coronavirus have led to numerous ballot challenges, including this one,” said NY Working Families Party State Director Sochie Nnaemeka.
“We will continue to support and campaign for the Congresswoman through Election Day.”
Caruso-Cabrera was elated that her gambit worked, although what effect it will have on the campaign is unclear.
“The AOC campaign is in shock. She has hurt working people of the Bronx and Queens with her votes and creates disunity within our party. Her own campaign spokesman ran away from her in March. No wonder why pro-union forces don’t want her and neither do our neighborhoods,” Caruso-Cabrera said following the ruling.
The removal from the minor party line is an embarrassment for the WFP, but it’s unclear what impact, if any, it will have on the Democratic primary between AOC and Caruso-Cabrera. It does show that Caruso-Cabrera, the former veteran CNBC anchor, is running an aggressive campaign against the first-term incumbent.
This tactic proved very useful to a young Barack Obama. In 1996 during his first race for the state Senate, he challenged the ballot signatures gathered by the incumbent, who was also his political mentor, Alice Walker. Obama got the long-serving Walker tossed off the ballot and ran in the Democratic primary unopposed.
The trouble had by the Working Families Party in fulfilling the mundane political chore of gathering ballot signatures may be an omen of things to come in the fall. The coronavirus pandemic could upend politics as we know it, leading to several surprises in November.