Not-So-Close Race Also One of the Most Expensive

AOC is heavy favorite in Bronx, but a newcomer is drawing big money from Republicans
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2020 12:47 PM CDT
Not-So-Close Race Also One of the Most Expensive
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.) waits to meet supporters and campaign volunteers at a Pledge to Vote event Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

(Newser) – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is "very likely" to win re-election to Congress next month in her Bronx district, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. More precisely, in a sample of 40,000 simulations, AOC defeats GOP challenger John Cummings 99 times out of 100. It may be surprising, then, to learn that the seemingly uncompetitive contest is one of the most expensive House races of the year. Coverage:

  • The numbers: AOC has raised $17.3 million, and much of that comes from small-donor admirers of the progressive icon, reports the New York Times. But Cummings, a 60-year-old high school civics teacher and former NYPD officer, has raised $9.6 million as a political novice. In fact, he actually outraised AOC in the last quarter. All told, this makes the race the second most expensive House race of 2020. (The Louisiana race with GOP incumbent Steve Scalise is No. 1, per OpenSecrets.org.)
  • Why? Chalk it up to AOC's high profile, on both the left and right. "I guarantee you 75% of his contributors don't know anything about him," GOP strategist Tom Doherty tells the Times, referring to Cummings. "I don’t know anything about him except that he’s running against AOC The people that are interested in that race financially are giving because it’s AOC."

  • His hope: Of course, few gave AOC a chance before her stunning upset of high-ranking Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in 2018. Cummings aims to appeal to moderate "Crowley Democrats" in the heavily Democratic district, in addition to Republicans. "They want law and order," he tells the National Catholic Reporter of voters in his district. "They want to feel safe." On Nov. 4, he adds, he hopes to "be the No. 2 story that day."
  • Rising profile: "The race is getting national attention," Cummings tweeted over the weekend. "Spoke with CBS News today about raising more money than AOC in the last 90 days and our momentum. 10 days until we make history!" In that CBS interview, Cummings says his chances are better than people think. "This district is heavily Democrat," he said. "It's not heavily socialist."
  • AOC reaction: The 31-year-old says the GOP push against her will backfire, reports Newsweek. "One perk about a GOP motivated by hatred is that it's irrational and unstrategic," she tweeted over the weekend. "All these millions Republicans are hate-pouring into my race (just for shady DC consultants to scoop up & burn) is less money channeled for them in tight swing races."
(Read more Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stories.)

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