Rust Belt Democrats Silent On Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Endorsements

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Two Senate candidates running in key swing states are not acknowledging apparent endorsements from Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez appeared to endorse Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, and Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in an Instagram post published Wednesday. All three candidates are running for Senate seats currently held by Republicans, with Ryan and Fetterman running to replace retiring Sens. Rob Portman and Pat Toomey, respectively. Barnes is the front-runner in a crowded field to take on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

We CAN do more to pursue these items more aggressively. And THEN once we do, we can secure the W and turnout the vote for [John Fetterman] in PA, [Mandela Barnes] in WI & [Tim Ryan] in OH this November: expansion of SCOTUS, end the Senate filibuster, repeal the Hyde Amendment, codify Roe, same-sex marriage, right to contraception, and interracial marriage,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a post including video of her appearance on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert.


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Although Barnes responded approvingly to the endorsement, neither Fetterman nor Ryan appear to have shared it on any social media platforms. Neither Ryan nor Barnes have listed Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement on their websites, while Fetterman’s does not provide a list of any endorsements.

None of the three candidates responded to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on whether or not they would promote the endorsements or campaign with Ocasio-Cortez.

Fetterman previously criticized Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “Squad” members for their opposition to military aid for Israel. After eight House Democrats opposed an appropriations package providing $1 billion in aid to replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system, Fetterman called their vote “misguided,” saying that it was “something that I would never be a part of.” Fetterman also described the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as “fringe” and “just wrong.”

Ryan, who has sought to portray himself as a moderate, criticized single-payer healthcare during his short-lived 2020 presidential campaign. He also claimed that the Green New Deal would destroy manufacturing jobs. Ocasio-Cortez supports both proposals. (RELATED: Hillary Clinton Returns To Politics With $2,900 Minimum Donation Fundraiser For Dem Senate Candidate)

During his Senate campaign, however, Ryan has embraced eliminating the filibuster to legalize abortion nationwide until the moment of birth, without conscience protections for doctors and nurses. Ryan rescinded his previous support for the Hyde Amendment during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Although Ocasio-Cortez is a leading fundraiser in the Democratic Party, some of the party’s most vulnerable House members have declined donations from her Courage to Change Leadership PAC. Seven representatives returned donations from Courage to Change, Federal Elections Commission records reveal. Four of those members, Washington Rep. Kim Schrier, New Hampshire Rep. Chris Pappas, Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran, and Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, are designated “Frontline” members by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The other three have either lost primaries or retired.

Republicans have already begun noting the endorsements in political attacks.

A spokesperson for Ryan’s opponent, venture capitalist and author JD Vance, claimed that the endorsement was “no surprise, since he votes with AOC 95% of the time.”

“Tim Ryan is too radical for Ohio,” the spokesperson added.