Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialist running for the House of Representatives in New York’s 14th Congressional District, journeyed to California on Tuesday for a campaign fundraiser that charged up to $2,700 for attendance.
The candidate attended two sold-out, private fundraisers on her behalf in San Francisco as part of a national tour to bolster her profile, the San Francisco Chronicle first reported.
The first fundraiser was hosted at The Assembly, an exclusive women-only social club that charges $2,700 per year for membership. Tickets for the event ranged between $500, at the low end, to $2700, at the high end. It was not disclosed how much the fundraiser netted for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign or the number of individuals who attended.
The second fundraiser was hosted by the San Francisco Progressive Alliance, the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, and other progressive organizations operating in the Bay Area. Attendance for the event was larger than anticipated, with 400 to 500 individuals having RSPV’d to attend, forcing organizers to move to a larger venue. Tickets ranged between $10 to $50 and the event was reported to have raised $15,000 for the candidate.
Ocasio-Cortez catapulted onto the national stage in June by unseating Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, by over 10 percentage points in the Democratic primary for his New York City-based congressional seat. The 28-year-old political newcomer ousted the entrenched incumbent after running a progressive-style insurgency campaign premised on alleviating income inequality and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for enforcing immigration laws.
The candidate, who served as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) failed 2016 presidential campaign, has also endorsed universal health care, free college tuition, and a federal jobs guarantee. Ocasio-Cortez has also been quick to embrace the “socialist” label in response to her detractors, who argue she doesn’t understand the fiscal consequences of the policies she champions.
“I believe in health care for all, I believe in education for all, I believe in housing as a human right, and then if people are going to call me a socialist for believing in those things, alright, call me a socialist; I don’t give a damn,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a July interview with a Black Lives Matters activist.
Since defeating Crowley, Ocasio-Cortez has been heralded as the “future of the Democratic Party” by Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Ocasio-Cortez’s star power within the Democratic Party has been on display in recent weeks as she’s barnstormed the country campaigning for fellow progressives.
Shandi Singh, a co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America’s San Francisco chapter who hosted the second fundraiser, expressed that Ocasio-Cortez’s message, especially regarding income inequality, resonates strongly in places like San Francisco.
“San Francisco is considered a bastion of progressiveness in America, yet we’re dealing with an exacerbation of the same problems,” Singh said. “We should listen to what this young woman of color has to say … it speaks volumes that her message resonates here.”
The fundraisers were held despite the fact Ocasio-Cortez has already raised over $861,000 this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and only faces nominal Republican opposition this November.