Democratic Congressional Candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be the darling of the Democratic Socialists of America, but when it comes to big tent politics and trying to win over the unconverted she’s proving elusive.
That after her lesser-known Republican opponent, St. John’s Ph. D professor in economics, Anthony Pappas is disappointed she ultimately refused to debate him after initially agreeing to do so.
But Pappas himself is tainted after both Queens GOP Chairwoman Joann Ariola-Shanks and Bronx County GOP Chairman Michael Rendino refused to back him stemming from a messy divorce 20 years ago, in which he reportedly beat his wife.
The Bronx born and raised Ocasio-Cortez became the darling of the progressive movement after whipping U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) in the Democratic primary. Crowley is both the Queens County Democratic Party Chair and the chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
But after challenging Pappas to a debate about a month ago, Ocasio-Cortez announced she wouldn’t attend their scheduled debate slated for Oct. 17 at the PS 69 school auditorium in Jackson Heights. It was arranged by a Queens Latino news organization.
“The excuse given by her campaign manager last week is a newly announced condition of attendance by all candidates. This was announced with full knowledge that incumbent Joseph Crowley, defeated by Ocasio-Cortez in the June primary, was no longer campaigning on the Working Families party line (a third party which has never elected a candidate without major party backing on another line),” according to Pappas’ website.
“While professing to promote the poor and lower class to earn her first success in any election, Ocasio-Cortez is now deceiving them with a self-promotion campaign across the country which finds her in one television appearance dressed in a $3,000 outfit and $600 shoes. By dodging her only debate, she is acting exactly as Joseph Crowley did when dodging her own demands for more debates during the primary season. At least Mr. Crowley appeared in one television debate and cancelled none.
“While also proclaiming publicly that Donald Trump was afraid to confront “a girl” during her self-promotion crusade, she is now afraid of a senior citizen who happens to be a professor of economics at St. John’s University. Dr. Pappas was prepared to debunk all of her myths about a socialist system and spending plan of “free things” having a $40 trillion price tag according to an independent research organization. The Ocasio-Cortez plan could only be satisfied by taxing the lower and middle classes,” the site added.
But Pappas’ murky past came to light after Ariola-Shanks and Rendino asked Pappas in early September how his fundraising was going, and he responded that an account with $1,200 was seized because of his divorce case, in which he owes $1.5 million, according to the Queens Chronicle.
The story goes on to say that Pappas told Ariola-Shanks there was also a 20-year order of protection against him stemming from allegations he beat his wife so bad she was hospitalized and needed facial reconstruction.
“Well, at that point we kind of had to collect ourselves and we told him that very day that we would be rescinding our support for him,” Ariola-Shanks told the Chronicle. “Because we could not, in good, conscience, run a candidate who was involved in a domestic violence incident and had an order of protection against him.”