NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former television news journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera plans to wage a Democratic primary challenge against freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has emerged as a leading voice of the party’s left wing over the past year.
Caruso-Cabrera, 53, a reporter and anchor at business news channel CNBC for more than 20 years, filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to run in the primary on April 28. She also declared her candidacy on her Twitter page and her newly launched campaign website.
The contest to pick the party’s candidate in November’s general election sets up an ideological battle in the solidly Democratic congressional district that straddles New York’s Queens and Bronx boroughs. The Democratic primary winner is expected to win the general election easily.
Caruso-Cabrera, who has been a CNBC contributor since leaving the network in 2018, is known to lean right in economic matters. She is the author of “You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government,” published in 2010.
She is the granddaughter of working-class Italian and Cuban immigrants, who worked dangerous meatpacking jobs when they came to the United States, according to her website.
“I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful career, and I want everybody to have the opportunity that I’ve had,” she said in a statement reported by CNBC. “That’s why I’m running.”
CNBC said she would no longer contribute to the business news channel.
Ocasio-Cortez, who burst onto the national scene two years ago with an upset primary victory against a long-time Democratic stalwart Joe Crowley, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, as is Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, whom she has endorsed.
With an influential presence on social media, Ocasio-Cortez has been a leading voice of left-wing Democrats, ardently backing causes such as “Medicare for All,” and occasionally tangling with party leaders, especially early in her congressional term.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Alistair Bell)