Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed Maya Wiley, the former civil rights attorney who worked as counsel for Mayor Bill de Blasio, as her first choice for New York City mayor, an unexpected development that could galvanize progressives in a race where the left has been fractured by controversy and lack of excitement.
The popular congresswoman, whose support is courted by liberal Democrats across the country, had up until now kept the public guessing as to whether she would weigh in on the race. But in a surprise move, she delivered the news on Saturday at an event in City Hall Park that was initially intended to highlight her choices for City Council.
Afterward, she pivoted to the primary, warning of "dark money" in the race, an allusion to Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, and Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate. Both men, who are considered frontrunners, are being funded by Super PACS.
"We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines," she told a crowd of supporters at City Hall Park. "We can’t afford to not engage because of what could happen. The stakes can't be higher."
In a preview of how she may campaign for Wiley, she warned of some candidates who would cater to wealthy interests, through policies such as "privatizing the school system," a reference to the charter school movement, criminalizing the homeless and mentally ill, and placing less focus on affordable housing.
"We’ve already tried Giuliani’s New York," she said. "We’ve already tried Bloomberg’s New York."
She described Wiley as someone who "grew up in the movement," a reference to her parents who worked as civil rights activists, and a "north star for policy."
"She has been dedicating her life to this," she said.
This is a cult.