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Left behind: AOC and ‘Squad’ allies suffered heavy losses this week

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her so-called “Squad” of progressive allies suffered several primary setbacks this week.

While Ocasio-Cortez easily sailed to victory in her uncontested primary, many of the progressive firebrands vying for the Democratic Party’s nod were edged out by more centrist hopefuls in races across the country during Tuesday’s primary night.


From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. llhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Most notably, incumbent Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) lost his reelection bid for New York’s 10th Congressional District, finishing third. Jones had hopped districts after Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who helms the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, opted to run in the 17th Congressional District, which Jones currently represents.

Seeking to avoid a collision course with a powerful House Democrat, Jones vied for a second term in the 10th District, but he was edged out by Daniel Goldman. Jones had been one of the first openly gay black men elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez had previously endorsed Jones in 2020.

Ahead of Tuesday’s showdown, she threw her weight behind Maloney’s progressive challenger, Alessandra Biaggi, in the 17th District race, who was subsequently trounced.

Elsewhere in the Empire State, progressive contender Brittany Ramos DeBarros, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, lost to the more centrist Democrat Max Rose for New York’s 11th Congressional District.

The “Squad” managed to snag at least one notable primary victory, with Kristen Gonzalez nabbing the party nod for her state Senate race in New York City.

Although progressives may have faced some notable setbacks, the Democratic Party as a whole pointed to Tuesday night’s election as an indication that the prophesized red wave may be waning. The party managed to claim victory in New York’s 19th Congressional District special election, in which Democrat Pat Ryan edged out Republican Marc Molinaro.

The district had previously opted for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and has a 1-percentage-point partisan advantage for Republicans, according to FiveThirtyEight. Overshadowing much of the showdown between Ryan and Molinaro was the hot-button issue of abortion, which some analysts believe may have helped Ryan win.

Molinaro will face off against former congressional aide Josh Riley in November.


Over recent weeks, Democrats have seemingly been bolstered by a string of victories, such as the assassination of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, decreasing gas prices, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act, and the announcement of student loan forgiveness.

Many of those policy triumphs represented significantly watered-down iterations of what progressive members of the “Squad” had sought.

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