Former President Barack Obama released on Monday what he termed his “first wave” of candidate endorsements ahead of the November election, with some 118 candidates in 17 different states receiving his stamp of approval.
Noticeably absent from that list of Obama endorsements, however, was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), despite already winning her primary election and her reputation as an emerging young leader within the Democratic Party, Fox News reported.
That said, Fox did not that Obama had initially declined to offer an endorsement of Ocasio-Cortez in 2018 following the New York primary — in which she had ousted longtime incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) — but eventually did so prior to the general election in November.
“First wave” endorsements
Obama issued his endorsements in a post to Twitter and wrote, “I’m proud to endorse this diverse and hopeful collection of thoughtful, empathetic, and highly qualified Democrats. If you’re in one of their districts or states, make sure you vote for them this fall. And if you can, vote early — by mail or in person.”
He also posted his list of initial endorsements in an article on Medium that shared much the same message of his tweet but also noted that, “Together, these candidates will help us redeem our country’s promise by sticking up for working-class people, restoring fairness and opportunity to our system, and fighting for the good of all Americans — not just those at the top.
“They make me optimistic not just about our party’s chances in November, but about our country’s future long after that,” Obama added.
Advancing “key goals”
Fox reported that, according to Obama’s office, the candidates named on the list had been chosen because the former president viewed them as being important in the fight to “advance key goals.”
Those objectives include gaining control of the U.S. Senate and maintaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives and also to “support fair redistricting in 2021,” and promote “diverse, emerging leaders for this time.”
While Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t on Obama’s list — despite her supposed status as one of the “diverse, emerging leaders for this time” — Obama’s office said the former president would issue a second wave of endorsements once all of the state primaries had concluded, so there is a chance that she could eventually receive a belated nod, much like in 2018.
It was also noted that several of the endorsed candidates were veterans of Obama’s prior administration and campaigns, and while the majority were running for national seats, there were quite a few on Obama’s list that were running for state-level House and Senate seats, particularly in key battleground states like North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Texas.
It remains to be seen if Ocasio-Cortez will be included in a later wave of endorsements from Obama, nor is it clear that the former president’s endorsement is even necessary for the young congresswoman to retain her seat in an overwhelmingly deep blue Democratic district in New York City.
Yet, a snub is a snub, and it would be interesting to know exactly why Ocasio-Cortez was left off the list and whether Obama simply fails to see the same potential in AOC as so many from the radical wing of the party seem to.