After pushing the candidacy of Jamaal Bowman to defeat 16-term Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, possibly the most pro-Israel lawmaker in Congress, Squad leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was beaten by Rep. Kathleen Rice from Nassau County, Long Island, in their struggle to take over Engel’s seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
According to Politico, just before the Democratic Steering Committee voted on who gets into the Energy and Commerce slots, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership team circulated a slate of their candidates. And, you guessed it, AOC wasn’t included.
Established in 1795, the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce (its name has been altered a few times over the past two centuries) has served as the principal guide for the House in matters relating to the promotion of commerce and public’s health and marketplace interests, with the relatively recent addition of energy considerations among them.
The committee has developed the broadest non-tax-oriented jurisdiction of any congressional committee. It maintains principal responsibility for legislative oversight relating to telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, air quality and environmental health, the supply and delivery of energy, and interstate and foreign commerce. Its jurisdiction extends over five Cabinet-level departments and seven independent agencies—including the Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, the Transportation Department to the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Communications Commission, and various quasi-governmental organizations.
Imagine AOC getting access to all this power.
Our readers who have been worried about the growing power of Squad members in the House might draw some comfort from the knowledge that the final decision of the Democratic Steering Committee wasn’t even close: Rice won by 46-13 after several members let AOC know exactly how they felt about her corrosive role in the party and the damage she had caused fellow Democrats in purple states, some of whom had been defeated because of the progressives’ ranting and raving about defunding the police.
Kathleen Rice is everything AOC isn’t, and as such she represents the Democratic party’s hope for better results in the 2022 midterm elections. She was elected Nassau County District Attorney in 2005 – the first female to hold the position. She defeated 31-year incumbent Denis Dillon, a defector to the Republican party. Rice was the first opponent to knock him out since his first run in 1974. She was then re-elected in 2009 and 2013.
In June 2014, Rice won the Democratic primary election for the US House, defeating Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams 56–44%. In November 2014, she defeated Republican candidate Bruce Blakeman 53–47%. Rice won reelection in 2016, defeating Republican David Gurfein, 59.6–40.4%, with a margin of about 60,000 votes. And she won reelection in 2018, defeating Republican Ameer Benno, 61.3–38.7%.
Now, it’s true that Democrats usually do better than Republicans in NY State, but that does not include the Republican enclaves of Long Island and Staten Island, where Democrats get a run for their money.
One member of the steering committee, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), told Politico: “I’m taking into account who works against other members in primaries and who doesn’t,” by which he meant, you guessed again, Ocasio-Cortez, who supported his primary challenger Jessica Cisneros.
However, AOC did receive the support of the unofficial leader of the NY delegation in the House, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the Judiciary Committee. With his base on the lower west side of Manhattan, I suppose Jerry couldn’t turn his back on the progressives without paying a price.