New York congressional candidate and democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the political world’s rising superstar.
Her popularity is so gangbusters, she won a primary race in June in a New York congressional district she wasn’t even running in as a write-in candidate, according to the New York Daily News.
Well, surprise surprise, her popularity extends all the way to the West Coast.
Ocasio-Cortez has two fundraisers planned Tuesday in San Francisco’s Mission District, and both have sold out. One even sold out twice.
The first fundraiser the firebrand candidate will attend is a high-price affair at The Assembly, hosted by a who’s-who of local progressives including Supervisor Jane Kim, among a bevy of others. The tickets range from a “friend” seat at $50 to a “host” level seat at $2,700.
Yowza. I felt my wallet shiver just typing that.
It’s the second fundraiser of Tuesday evening, however, that has many locals energized. Tickets for an appearance at the bar El Rio, organized by the San Francisco Progressive Alliance, ranged in price from $10 to $250, and sold out last Wednesday within hours of being posted online. In fact, San Francisco Berniecrats Co-Chair Claire Lau tells me, demand was so high to see Ocasio-Cortez that organizers switched venues to Gray Area on Mission Street.
Shanti Singh, co-chair of the DSA SF chapter, said the event was so popular, they actually had to move it twice. Once from the Impact Hub to El Rio, and again to Gray Area.
About 300 supporters were expected to see the congressional candidate at El Rio. Gray Area will seat 500. On Facebook, 5,000 people marked themselves as “interested” in attending the event. So perhaps it’ll come as no shock that those tickets sold out between Sunday night and Monday morning.
“It means there’s a lot of thirst and energy behind someone who wants more radical, systematic change in our system,” Lau said. “Having a young woman of color who embraces democratic socialism being able to beat the political establishment is very encouraging for a lot of progressive left organizers.”
The SF Progressive Alliance, organizers of the fundraiser, includes the aforementioned Berniecrats, the Democratic Socialists of America SF chapter, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the Latino Democratic Club, among others. It makes sense, as Ocasio-Cortez is running on a platform of Medicare for all, housing as a human right and other positions that progressives in The City have championed. Tom Ammiano, one of San Francisco’s progressive leaders, did lead the effort for Healthy SF, after all.
Locally, District 5 supervisor candidate Dean Preston has trumpeted the democratic socialist label, and District 10 supervisor candidate Tony Kelly has been endorsed by the local DSA.
Singh said she can see the appeal, as she herself is inspired to see another 28-year-old woman of color running for office and kicking kiester.
“Her agenda is really rooted in combating oppression. She’s a young person, and we’re sending a card carrying socialist to Congress,” Singh said. But it does make her want to do more, she admitted.
“I’m kind of, ‘What am I doing with my life?!’” Singh said.
Well, Singh did play a role in organizing the event itself, which judging by the reaction, is stirring local activists to action. It may not be congress, but it’s certainly a start.
On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.
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