Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) did not rule out challenging Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) when asked during a recent interview if she will launch a primary bid for his seat.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked Ocasio-Cortez, the two-term congresswoman representing the Bronx and a leading member of the progressive wing of the party, if she will challenge Schumer in a primary race in the future.
Schumer is up for reelection in 2022, and speculation has swirled for years around whether the 31-year-old firebrand will take on her party’s Senate leader. Schumer has represented the Empire State in the upper chamber since 1999.
“I know it drives everybody nuts, but the way that I really feel about this and the way that I really approach my politics and my political career is that I do not look at things and I do not set my course positionally,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN during an interview that was conducted in late June but is set to air in full on Monday as part of CNN’s new series “Being.”
“And I know there’s a lot of people who do not believe that, but I really, I can’t operate the way that I operate and do the things that I do in politics while trying to be, aspiring to other things or calculating to other things,” she added.
The representative said the decisions she makes are based on her community’s needs before adding, “I’m not commenting on that.”
Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a primary race in 2018. She went on to win the general election to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Once she arrived in Washington, the first-term representative quickly rose to prominence, becoming a leading figure in the party’s growing progressive movement.
The CNN interview isn’t the first time she’s been asked about a potential challenge to Schumer.
She left the door open when asked by Punchbowl News in January, telling the news organization that she is “very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.”
“I’m not playing coy or anything like that,” she added.
When asked at the time if her decision would be influenced by whether it looked like Democrats would lose their majority in the House next year, Ocasio-Cortez said, “I’m not sure about that either. For me, I don’t make these decisions based on these short-term factors.”
She also offered brief comments on her relationship with Schumer, telling Punchbowl, “He and I have an open relationship, we speak to each other regularly.”